Tuesday, June 6, 2017

3rd Annual Garden Tour

The Winston County Master Gardeners Association presents its 3rd Annual Garden Tour with three spectacular gardens all in Louisville, MS, June 10, 2017, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. This is a free self-guided tour that will be held rain or shine. You may tour and enjoy the gardens at your own time and pace. Don’t miss your chance to view different garden styles, ask questions, and see new and different plants. Please sign in at each garden for a chance to win a Grand Prize or a door prize. Prizes: 1st - a 5’ cypress swing---2nd - a 3’ child’s metal bench---3rd - a tub of garden supplies.

One of the spectacular gardens on tour is at the home of Beth and Charley McCool, 415 East Main Street who moved to this location in 1996. You must enter from the side street which is St. Charles Avenue as there is no parking on Main Street. You may park on the property behind their house or on St Charles Avenue. You enter the garden from the rear of the house as you are greeted by a beautiful magnolia tree with a bloom that smiles at you and there are many sky scraping Natchez White Crepe Myrtles that form an umbrella over the garden for a cozy shady atmophere. Then you will see eye catching beautiful snow queen oakleaf hydrangea, natives of US and an antique bell near the shed. Beth stated that this bell belonged to Charley’s grandfather, also named, Charley McCool, who was a mule trader. He used the bell to alert the community of emergencies.

Beth started gardening as a teenager. After knee surgery, Beth’s grandmother, Elsie White, noticed her disappontment of having nothing to do while healing and planted a garden with red salvias, marigolds, blue azuratums using no mulch. Her grandmother gave her the responsibility to keep the weeds out. She soon came out of her depression and started singing, “Bury your troubles in the dirt”. She gives her art teacher, Hilda Simmons, credit for teaching her to appreciate colors via flowers. She has a pet cementary in her garden where the families’ pets are buried. Some of the other plants in her garden: Katrina rose, Peggy Martin Rose, gardenias, elaeagnus, blueberry, shasta daisy, Mexican Daisey, geraniums, buckeye and pecan trees, various daylillies, and many many more. She has a nice lawn with St. Augustine and Centipede grasses. Beth has many stories to tell about her gardening and her life at this location. Please meet her during your visit to hear more.

Another of our spectacular gardens on tour is at the home of Rebecca and Kent Gravett located at 830
Poplar Flat Road, Louisville, MS. She is a member of the Winston County Master Gardeners Association who lived and worked in Orange County, California since the early 1980s where she set up a boutique law practice that handled cases in Mississippi as well. She returned to her hometown and has been gardening since. Her garden is only 4 years old and what a magnificent job she has done in a relatively short time. Rebecca’s yard was voted Yard of the Month May 2017. At that time she stated that her yard was a yard in progress with hopes of finishing soon, but we know real gardeners never finish. They change styles and plants from year to year.

Aside from foundation plantings of peach, persimmon, and pomegranate trees, along with the perfunctory azaleas and gardenias, most of her plants are in containers. She stated, “I love to use anything I can find either whimsical or interesting as a container - from old cast iron pots (do not overwater) to bird cages, tomato cans, and even interesting pieces of wood. I also enjoy unusual ground covers and this season I am using yellow squash as a ground cover under my vanilla pink hydrangeas and gardenias. Friends are skeptical of the squash experiment...we'll see.” She has planted 30 Pride of Mobile azaleas to naturalize the wooded area around her yard.

She said, “I like to crowd plants, especially in pots. I like for them to spill over and even ‘jump’ out of their pots. My goal is to not see the soil in either a pot or a bed because plants have merged together so nicely! I buy plants because I find them either beautiful or interesting. I don't usually have a place in mind to put them when I get them, but that doesn't stop me.” When touring Rebecca’s garden, please take note of the brick barbecue pit built by her father and used to barbecue goat and as many as 25 chickens at a time. The pit is home to some of her ferns. The greeter to her garden is a dog named Biscuit who is very friendly to all visitors. Check it out!!Rebecca Gavett’s Garden (Photos courtesy of Rebecca Gravett) Rebecca Gavett’s Garden

The third garden on tour is at the home of Cassandra Fulton, 3077 Hwy 397/John C. Stennis Drive,
Louisville, MS. This garden is ‘hidden in plain view’, but as the youth might say ‘NOT’. It is located approximately one half mile off Hwy 397. It is a view that reminds this writer of traveling from Sacramento, CA to Lake Tahoe – going around the mountains until the lake comes into view. Getting to Cassandra’s house, one turns off Hwy 397 and travels on a winding road and suddenly see this huge oak tree with a swing made from wooden pallets hanging from it and then there this beautiful white 2 story house in plain view with this gorgeous garden surrounding it. The house is partly gated, a white picket fence with a view of a pond outside of fence to the left, and a swimming pool inside the yard to the right. Upon entering the garden area a beautiful large yellow butterfly greets you. There are two blue butterflies in the garden in other areas.

Cassandra is Assistant Principal at Noxapater Attendance Center by day and a gardener by evening and night. She said her therapy is her flowers inside and outside. She is a native if Louisville; was married to Mike Fulton who passed in 1998. Her house was built in 2000 on land from her parents. Her son and his family live near her on the same land and her daughter is often there to visit and help with painting projects in the garden. Impressive is the fact that she does all of her gardening – no hires or volunteers. She mows the huge lawn, weeds, feeds, waters, sprays, fertilizes, plants, transplants and creates new beds all by herself. Her mother, Election Commissioner Dell Gillett, comes by with suggestions sometimes. She and her daughter love wild flowers from their land and use them in the landscape. They still have her father’s antique curb tractor to use on the property.

Tourist will see a variety of plants in Cassandra’s landscape, e.g., Salvia ‘black and blue’, sun coleus, purple cane, yellow million bells, verbena, black-eyes Susan, white crepe myrtles, geraniums, oakleaf hydrangea, pink dragon wing begonias, yellow lantana and many more. She has beautiful garden art and several fountains – the ducks in the fountain are great spitters. Check them out!!!