Story by Pamela A. Keene
Ever wished you could get an up-close-and-personal glimpse at gardens created by Hall County Master Gardeners? Just mark your calendar for Saturday, June 3, when the group’s biennial Garden Walk, “In Our Own Back Yards,” offers tours of five private residential gardens and one public garden in Hall County.
“This year’s Garden Walk has a number of surprises and special features that our members are eager to share with the public,” says Irene Michaud, co-chair of the 2017 “In Our Own Back Yards” event.
“From fairy houses and wildlife habitats to mini-greenhouses and koi ponds, these gardens are excellent examples of the potential of residential gardens. We hope that visitors will take away new ideas for their own gardens and landscapes.”
Here are descriptions of this year’s gardens:
The gardens at the home of Terri Andrews feature a 12-foot by 20-foot koi pond with double waterfalls, a potting shed/conservatory and natural woodland area for horseshoes. The Flowery Branch resident also has a backyard with a fire pit and a turf area for croquet, plus plenty of perennials, a raised bed vegetable garden and colorful window boxes.
Liz Dietz in Flowery Branch scaled back her garden when she moved into a subdivision four years ago, but she hasn’t cut back on her gardening. With a portable greenhouse, a composter and raised flower beds, the garden continues to evolve and demonstrate that bigger is not necessarily better.
Gainesville’s Tammy Dellinger has a garden that feature edibles — peaches, blueberries, blackberries, vegetables and herbs — that she uses as the basis for many recipes. The soil is made rich by an onsite composter. Her butterfly garden is punctuated by fairy houses and native plants.
Chris Michael of Gainesville has tackled shade gardening on his wooded lot, capitalizing on varied textures to create interest. As a regular volunteer at the Atlanta Botanical Garden/Gainesville, he’s also learned how to incorporate rare and unusual plants into his landscape.
With the state champion Kwanzan Cherry and the Hall County champion Savannah Holly, Gainesville’s Bobbett Holloway has a showcase garden. Her landscape includes shrubs, bulbs and perennials that provide “a bloom a day” all year long. Roses, hydrangeas, a certified Natural Habitat, a native garden and shade garden complete the setting.
Additionally, Gardens on Green, adjacent to the Hall County Board of Education, is part of this year’s Garden Walk. One of its newest features is the Literacy Garden, which opens in May and focuses on children’s reading and gardening activities.
Hall County Masters Gardeners is a 150-member volunteer organization that focuses on education, gardening best-practices and community service. It sponsors spring and fall Garden Expos, youth gardening projects and the every-other-year Garden Walk.
Members also staff Ask-A-Master-Gardener booths at public events and provide garden information via the Hall County Extension Office, where they regularly volunteer.
Tickets are $10 in advance and are available for purchase at www.hallmastergardeners.com or the Hall County UGA Extension Office, 734 E. Crescent Drive, Gainesville. On the day of the event, tickets are $15 each and may be purchased at any of the gardens. For more information about Hall County Master Gardeners go to www.hallmastergardeners.com or call 770-535-8293.