The Piedmont Garden Tour in Athens, Georgia

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I love garden tours because they are full of ideas and inspiration. All four gardens in the Piedmont Gardeners Tour this year reflect the owners’ personalities and preferences. How lucky we are that they are sharing their gardens with us on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Details are available on the tour website. Don’t forget to bring a small notebook, sun protection, comfy shoes that can walk on gravel and your water bottle.

Since I will be helping to staff the Brussack garden this Saturday I was able to attend the pre-tour the week before. There are plenty of ideas to glean from these gardens:


Raised garden beds bring veggies to a level that are easier on the gardener, not only to reach but by concentrating the plantings into easy-to-maintain sizes. Constructing raised beds is a wise investment; my raised beds are almost two decades old.

Notice the look and feel of the many materials, edging, shapes and widths of paths. A curving path with garden art draws you forward to discover what is next. Plants should block some of the views to add curiosity and surprise. Groundcover between stepping stones brings you into the garden. Formal lawns and walks are a wonderful contrast to exuberant plantings.

color and whimsey in the garden with a statue and containers

Add your personality with décor, humor, color, and art. Although all four gardens are great examples of this, they do it differently. Gather inspiration, break out into the inevitable smiles, but for your garden you do you.

We all want to (and often do) try one of each plant, but a grouping of several identical plants makes a statement, especially when they are in bloom.

You are experiencing a moment in time. Last week something else was in full bloom. Next week a storm may take a tree or shred leaves. The unexpected surprises and everchanging nature of gardens add to the experience of gardening.

deciduous azaleas

Notes on a few of the MANY plants:

Azaleas – Azaleas add so much color in April. Notice the differences between native azaleas and Oriental azaleas. Both are beautiful and colorful, but usually the native azaleas are more graceful and taller, a great plant for woodland gardens. If you can’t tell the difference between the two, ask one of the volunteers – that’s what we are there for.

Clematis – These flowering vines are both dramatic and delicate.

Autumn Fern – This plant is named for the russet color of the new foliage that is displayed now. These gardeners cut back the old foliage in late winter to allow the new foliage to show off as it emerges in spring.

Iris – I saw many colors and at least four species of iris. Some are huge, others delicate, some can take wet soil, others can handle drought. They are not only beautiful, but one plant can soon be divided into a mass, then spread about your garden and traded with gardening friends.


Epimedium – OK, I only saw this in the Brussack garden, but the owner is quite the collector. These delicate flowers should be appreciated up close. The plants are among the most tolerant of deer, drought and deep shade.  Epimediums are available in species that are great for the garden, but some of the new cultivars are flat-out stellar. They can be pricey, but worth every penny. One of the best and easiest to find is the fairly new Epimedium ‘Pink Champagne’.

Enjoy your visits to these wonderful gardens!

Loves Notes from the Garden

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