It doesn't take more than a quick look around town to see that New Canaan homeowners can take their gardens pretty seriously.

But if you're the type who wants more than just a quick look, maybe you should take June 3 off from work.

Continuing a long-standing tradition in New Canaan, the New Canaan Nature Center will hold the annual Secret Garden Tour, a benefit event that allows garden-seekers a glimpse at some of the creative and extravagant ways that New Canaan homeowner dress up their homes.

"New Canaan is known for having a homeowners whose gardens are their passion and they spend a lot of time devoted to their gardens," said Hilary Wittmann, director of marketing at the nature center. "It's something people don't miss."

The event, which will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., is a self-guided tour, allowing participants to sightsee at their own pace. Pre-paid tickets for the event are $75, including lunch or $50 for the tour only. Tickets will be $60 on the day of the tour. The price also includes a printed brochure with information about each garden. Volunteer guides will be available at each garden with information.

"A lot of people make a day out of it," Wittmann said. "You could easily spend the whole day visiting at your leisure."

Wittman said this year's tour will feature a wide variety of premier "town and country" gardens throughout New Canaan. Gardens on the tour range from historic estates with extensive grounds, to in-town "gems" that make creative use of small outdoor spaces.

In addition to hundreds of varieties of annuals and perennials, attendees will see a wide variety of majestic specimen trees and delightful woodland gardens.

"People love to see that range of big historical estates, and something really small that's been done in a very creative way," she said. "This year we have that range."

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For instance, she said one of the gardens, called "A Hidden Gem," features moss-covered stonewalls and a two-tiered patio with bubbling fountains.

A free-form granite pool, surrounded by specimen grasses, greets you and provides the setting for more than 13 varieties of heucheras, repeat-blooming hydrangeas and planters/containers of dwarf conifers planted many years ago.

Another, called "A Gardener's Retreat," is tucked behind a lovely in-town Victorian home where a mini garden awaits, enclosed by a white fence and decorated with brick paths, stone benches, a fountain and a chandelier.

The event is sponsored by Elise Landscapes & Nursery and the Bank of New Canaan this year. Hobbs Care, a division of Hobbs, Inc., is providing support by sponsoring the lunch, which will feature a gourmet meal from New Canaan's Fabulous Feasts.

Attendees can enjoy their lunch at the New Canaan Nature Center or take it with them to eat at their convenience.

Tickets can be purchased at the New Canaan Nature Center, either in person, by calling 203-966-9577, ext. 50, or online at www.NewCanaanNature.org.