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Visitors to stroll among Upper Keys' most beautiful properties in Garden Walk

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Visitors can stroll among some of the Upper Keys' most beautiful properties while getting ideas for tropical seascapes Friday, Feb. 28, during the popular annual Garden Walk presented by the Garden Club of the Upper Keys. Themed "Through the Garden Gate," the Garden Walk includes lush and unique properties between mile markers (MMs) 75 and 95. The tropical plantings include mature, naturalized and exotic palms, some 40 feet tall and 100 years old, and fruit and salt-tolerant native trees.

One featured garden employs xeriscaping, a landscaping method developed for water conservation.

The private gardens are to be open for self-guided tours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Most homeowners as well as docents of the garden club, many of them master gardeners, are to be on hand to share plant knowledge.

Driving between featured gardens is required.

Walk participants also are invited to an outdoor garden tea party at the Garden Club's historic Francis Tracy Garden Center, MM 94 in Tavernier, which features local artisans, live music and complimentary refreshments. Other attractions include numerous exhibitor-vendors selling tropical plants, art, honey and natural foodstuffs.

Tickets are a $25 donation to the Garden Club of the Upper Keys. Starting Feb. 1, they can be purchased at the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce at MM 106 bayside, Islamorada Chamber of Commerce at MM 87 bayside, Key Largo Florist and Gift Shop at MM 99.5 oceanside and The Banyan Tree tropical garden and boutique at MM 81 oceanside.

On the day of the Garden Walk, attendees can purchase tickets only at the Francis Tracy Garden Center. The Garden Club of the Upper Keys is a not-for-profit community organization whose mission is to foster, promote, develop, protect and conserve the natural beauties of the Upper Keys through education and awareness. Event information: www.gardenclubupperkeys.org Islamorada visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/islamorada or 1-800-FAB-KEYS Key Largo visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/keylargo or 1-800-822-1088

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