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Take a walk on the wild side
Five private gardens will be open for tours on Saturday
Helen Hyatt hopes to educate those walking through her garden during the biannual garden walk this weekend about the essentials of gardening. - photo by SARA GUEVARA
2009 Garden Walk
What: Hall County Master Gardeners and Hall County Extension office garden walk
When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Six gardens in Hall County
How much: $10 before Saturday, $15 Saturday
More info: 770-535-8293

With spring’s plentiful rain, local gardens are looking gorgeous this year.

And the Hall County Master Gardeners, along with the Hall County Extension office, have arranged a tour of five of the Master Gardeners’ gardens.

“The Master Gardeners always have wonderful, beautiful gardens and we’ve had so much rain lately that everything is looking so good,” said Lori Carson, the president of the Hall County Master Gardeners. “I just think that people will enjoy seeing them. They can ask a lot of questions while they are there, and they can find some ideas for their own places and see a lot of creative things.”

One of the five gardens on the tour will be Fran Henry’s “pollinator garden” in Gainesville, which attracts birds, butterflies and other wildlife.

“When they chose the gardens, they tried to choose variety,” said Helen Hyatt, who also has a garden on the tour. “There is one that is 100 percent shade, one that is 100 percent sun, there is one that is just a big, vast, huge garden. None of them are professionally landscaped; they are all done by the homeowners, and everybody has very different tastes.”

Hyatt’s garden at her home in Flowery Branch is sunny in the front yard and shady in the back.

“I planted a rock garden to demonstrate low-growing sedums and the little plants that normally get lost in bigger gardens,” said Hyatt, who also has grasses, perennials and shrubs in the front yard.

Hyatt’s backyard welcomes you with what she calls a paisley-shaped grass area, and then a path leads into a fairy garden, which includes several sitting areas, water features and topiaries.

“Most of it is the Lenten rose, which is tough, tough, because there is no watering down here,” she said. “I work and I don’t have a lot of time so this is stuff that I know is tough and will survive.”

Marguerite Jones’ garden in Gainesville also will be a stop on the tour. Her garden is all shade and includes plants such as hydrangeas, azaleas, hostas and ferns, along with water features and garden sculptures.

Pam Keene’s 2-year-old garden in Flowery Branch not only has daylilies but hundreds of azaleas and a vegetable garden, among other elements.  

Dave Rusk’s garden also will be a stop on the tour, along with Gardens on Green, a garden created by the Master Gardeners at the Hall County Board of Education’s Central Office on Green Street in Gainesville.

Each garden will offer a little something extra to tour guests. Two gardens will serve refreshments, two will have educational information, one will feature live music by the Gainesville Strummers and one will give away plants from the Master Gardeners.

Garden Walk participants can select the stops on the tour and go at their own pace.

“The ticket (for the tour) is actually a booklet, and in the booklet there is one big map that shows the general location (of the gardens). And every page talks about each garden and has individual directions on it,” Carson said.

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