Friday, April 13, 2007

Local Color: Through the Garden Gate Tours

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I'm hoping the hosts of this year's Through the Garden Gate garden tours won't mind it if I soak up every last detail of their creations - only to rush home to scribble madly in my garden journal for my own future garden layouts. To maybe cultivate a version of their vision on my own scale.

Getting to peek into others' gardens is such an honor. Plus, I'm getting tired of craning my neck around shrubbery, peering over brick walls and squinting through wrought iron gates.

Local garden clubs and the Virginia Cooperative Extension are offering this series. Tours are from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Admission is $5 - a steal!

April 14 - Hosts: Pat and Rick Jones, Sunnyfield Farm, 759 Sunny Field Lane, Keswick. Garden rooms in a country garden. A pond, walkways, rustic outbuildings, garden ornaments and a pool work with the perennials, shrubs, vegetable gardens, rose hedges and a white wisteria.

May 12 - Hosts: The McCarthys, 28 Claymont Drive, Earlysville. English country garden, woodland paths, native wildflowers, a courtyard with clematis, a Kousa dogwood and a fishpond.

June 9 - Hosts: Janet and Fred Borch; Zanne MacDonald, 1647 Oxford Road and 1641 Oxford Road, Charlottesville. Landscaping in small city gardens. Full sun to full shade specimens. Mature and unusual trees and shrubs including a Franklin tree, a 30-foot musk rose and a bearberry.

July 14 - Host: Claudia Sacellary, Elizabeth Lane, Batesville. Reclaimed property that was part of the old Maxwell Estate. Farm/country atmosphere with fantastic container combinations and wonderful views.

September 8 - Hosts: Mary and Peter Eades, 2554 Holkham Drive, Ivy. A stone courtyard, steps leading to a woodsy island. Ponds, perennial beds, sitting areas, mature tree specimens.

I would Mapquest the addresses for the best directions. For the July 14th property - take 250 West, go 11 miles and make a left onto Miller School Road. Go 2.6 miles to Dick Woods; make a right. Continue 1.7 miles to driveway - Elizabeth Lane is on the right.

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