Mt. Lebanon Public Library Garden Tour Preview

Lex Smith in her Hazel Drive garden, one of seven on the 34th annual Mt. Lebanon Public Library Garden Tour.

Lex Smith, Hazel Drive, and Natalie Drozda, Seminole Drive, share three things in common: their love of gardening, membership on the Mt. Lebanon Nature Conservancy board, and their upcoming participation in the 34th annual Mt. Lebanon Public Library Garden Tour, scheduled for Sunday, June 23 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine.

Smith, who has a passion for the outdoors, worked on the Holocaust and South Hills Interfaith Movement (SHIM) gardens in the past, but this is the first time her personal garden’s been on the tour. When she and her family moved into their home over five years ago the yard was nothing but grass. She started planting a little at a time, making sure to remove invasive plants, then really got into native planting. “Native plants, after the first year, take care of themselves. I don’t water them. I don’t do anything. They just grow. I do thin them out,” she said.

Drozda, who studied landscape architecture at Penn State, grew up around plants. Her father grew orchids in a greenhouse they got from another orchid society member. “It was fun growing up and realizing I had this exposure to plants that maybe wasn’t normal, but it inspired me,” she said.

Like Smith, Drozda’s front and backyard gardens are made up primarily of native plants. “Native plants can look lush and beautiful. They are not weeds. Sometimes all it takes, really, is just a reframing,” she said.

The 2024 Mt. Lebanon Public Library Garden Tour features seven private Mt. Lebanon gardens. Tickets are $20 in advance; $25 on the day of the garden tour and available only on the Mt. Lebanon Public Library website.

If you can’t attend in person, you’ll be able to view a virtual garden tour, featuring photos taken at each of the spots on the tour, and available on the library’s website within two weeks of the in-person event.

Natalie Drozda in front of one of her two Seminole Drive gardens.