Put on your walking shoes because this Saturday, April 13, there is a treat in store for all plant lovers and area home and garden enthusiasts. The Magnolia Garden Club has organized speakers and home gardens to tour that “sing the songs” of organic gardening, adaptability to nature and dedication to outdoor beauty.
Four lovely area home landscapes plus the McFaddin-Ward House grounds will be open to tour and enjoy from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Every hour on the hour from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., a lecture will begin at the McFaddin-Ward House, 1906 Calder Ave. in Beaumont. While you are there, take a peek at the wonderfully restored grounds and stately home.
We are so fortunate to have the experience of two exemplary gardeners from Blackberry Farms as speakers for the titled “Through the Garden Gate” home and garden tour. What is Blackberry Farm? The story goes that in 1939, Mrs. Florida Lasier of Chicago snagged her silk stockings in a wild blackberry bramble while exploring the idyllic Smoky Mountain foothills, and the name Blackberry Farm was born. Today, 36 years later, one of America’s most celebrated intimate resort hotels beckons guests to escape to eastern Tennessee. It is situated on a pastoral 4,200-acre estate in the Great Smoky Mountains. It is one of the top rated properties in the world.
One speaker, John Coykendall, master gardener, Blackberry Farms, started gardening at an early age. Grandson of Congressman John Jennings, he has walked through gardens here and abroad and not only collected knowledge, but also seeds. He always knew he wanted to create and care for some of the best produce in the world. Coykendall brings the knowledge of decades in the garden and centuries old heirloom seeds to us here in our region.
Jeff Ross, another speaker on Saturday, has been general manager at Blackberry Farms since 2006. One of his greatest passions is organic gardening of herbs and vegetables. His mother and grandmothers raised flowers and vegetables and his great-grandfather was a landscape architect in the 1920-30s.
The homes on the tour have weathered Hurricane Ike. Where there was shade, there is now sun. Gardeners adapt. Where there was once a huge tree there is now a beautiful koi pond. Where once a vegetable gardener was challenged for a sunny spot there is now a prolific vegetable garden, bee haven and chickens. A rice field was transformed through years of planning and hard work into a beautiful European style garden with a pond that attracts birds from far and wide.
Tickets are $35 and are available at all home locations: 11782 Brooks Road, 825 Thomas Road, 1350 Audubon Place, 2535 Ashley and at the McFaddin-Ward Home. Children under 12 not allowed. Only the McFaddin-Ward Home is wheelchair accessible. The Magnolia Garden Club (1937) fundraising supports Plant Beaumont Green, Beaumont Botanical Gardens, Garth House garden space, “Bee Aware,” Partnering for Plants and Lamar University Environmental Science Department’s Summer Program. See you there!
Joette is an avid gardener and prides herself on staying up-to-date on the latest gardening activities and tips. To share your gardening news with Joette, call (409) 832-1400 or fax her at (409) 832-6222. Her e-mail is joreger [at] msn [dot] com.