The tour will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and will highlight five private gardens in Smyrna. Proceeds will benefit a tree replacement project at the city’s Brawner Park.
“We have five gardens, and they are all very different,” said Ann Kirk, director of the nonprofit Keep Smyrna Beautiful. “The owners are very excited about sharing their knowledge and mistakes, as well as their successes, with the people who are coming through.”
The gardens of Dane and Anne Lorio, and Sandy and Brian Talbot, offer ways to create special spaces on sloped lots while preserving trees. Barbara Dondiego and David Stewart have created a beautiful yet productive urban farm near Smyrna’s Market Village. As an added bonus, local artists from The Nest will paint throughout the day at the garden of Nancy and Bill Thomas.
The tour also includes a stop at Larry and Marsha Freeman’s 2-acre woodland garden, which is filled with meandering paths and was previously featured on the Atlanta Botanical Garden Tour.
“We have probably six or seven fountains, three gazebos and a natural creek,” said Freeman, an avid gardener for 12 years. The Freeman garden also includes varieties of ferns, azaleas, maples, gardenias, rhododendrons, dogwoods and hostas among other flowers and plants.
“It’s just been a year-to-year thing. I just keep adding paths,” said Freeman, who said ferns are his favorite. He said his advice to novice gardeners is to buy annuals that come back “so they will grow over the years, especially the hostas, ferns, azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias.”
Owners and trained volunteers will be on hand at each garden to guide visitors, answer questions and share their resources.
“It generates a lot of excitement within the community about what people can do with their own yard,” Kirk said of the tour.
Tour patrons will also be able to relax, sample food and browse sponsor tables, a plant sale and silent auction for deals at the Taylor-Brawner House Tea Room. Live music will be performed by the Campbell High School String Quartet in the morning, followed by local pianist Barbara Kinkaid.
In 2011, roughly $7,000 was raised from the tour, according to Keep Smyrna Beautiful.
The money raised this year will help to plant replacement trees at Brawner Park that were either not purchased according to original plans or uprooted due to disease, old age and lightning strikes.
Tickets are $10 in advance and are on sale at the Smyrna Community Center at 200 Village Green Circle; Smyrna Recycling Center at 645 Smyrna Hill Drive; Backyard Feed & Seed at 1565 Roswell St.; and Love Street Gifts & Gardens at 1295 Concord Road.
Tickets may also be purchased for $15 on the event date at the Taylor-Brawner House at 3182 Atlanta Road. A map is provided with each ticket.
Keep Smyrna Beautiful selects featured gardens based on referrals, requests and the browsing of neighborhoods. Anyone interested in participating in next year’s tour is asked to call (770) 431-2863.