Keep Columbus Beautiful has done it again as they offer you a look at the secret gardens in historic Lakebottom.
This will be your opportunity to see these hidden gems of Columbus during the 2017 Tour of Gardens and Outdoor Spaces. I had the opportunity to drive around the eight designated sites for this year’s tour and it is sure to be an enjoyable experience for the whole family while at the same time promising to be both beautiful and inspiring.
The Garden of Bo Bartlett and Betsy Eby at 1402 15th Ave. has been in his family for almost seven decades. As you glance over the glistening white picket fence you’re quick notice a mature garden featuring a pattern of conceal and reveal. In other words you can’t see it all from one position but you must walk to experience and enjoy all the garden has to offer. Don’t miss the well-traveled Japanese Teahouse, which was the site where Bo proposed to Betsy, when it was in the Northwest. The swimming pool once spring fed is thought to be the oldest continually used pool in the city of Columbus and you’ll agree is quite the oasis. The garage has gone through a complete transformation and is now used as a studio.
At the Garden of Hallie Fivecoat at 1523 16th Ave. the words Finishing Touch will come to mind as see how yard art has so artistically been applied along one side of the a picture perfect carriage house. Just like hanging art indoors your outdoor room too can come alive. You will also find that idyllic outdoor room with fire pit just waiting for a gathering and a long night of smores. On the other side of the carriage house you find the clear blue waters of a Roman style pool tempting you to take a dip. The lush St. Augustine lawn and statuesque river birch trees create the perfect respite from a hot summer day.
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The Garden of Andrew Adams at 2701 18th Ave. will take you back in time to the St. Elmo Pecan Plantation. This corner lot is shaded from those same stately pecan trees that have stood the test of time. The Adams have lived on this circa 1947 property for 25 years. Here you can learn the technique of creating a garden on a slope. Well-planned beds with hydrangeas, native azaleas pieris, aucuba hostas and ferns will make you think they have garnered the green thumb in a shady paradise. An Amish swing and wisteria covered arbor create an inviting alcove which will delight all who find as a model train and track meanders about miniature plantings and props.
The Garden of Amy and Rob Ward is located at 1630 Cherokee Ave. Age is everything to a beautiful garden and this location will teach you about patience and longevity. The garden and home sits atop a steel slope. Notice how it is softened with ivy and grass and yet private behind a veil of mature hardwood trees. Hollies cryptomerias and magnolias teach the value of evergreen bones in the landscape while Japanese maples add dramatic contrast. As you pass through a low latticed brick wall you’ll find the mottled weathered brick patio with that mossy texture and patina only achieved by time. Get your camera out for the water feature on the retaining wall separating the patio from the mature trees and shrubbery growing at a higher elevation.
The Garden of Marsh Mason will be found at 1603 Wildwood Ave. You may think Charles Dickens as you arrive at this English Tudor cottage. You’ll certainly be having a Kodak moment as you walk toward the sculptured junipers in large containers flanked by baskets of colorful begonias. No English Cottage would be caught without a climbing rose, and New Dawn climbing roses are still among the most loved of all time. Along the driveway you’ll see massed plantings of Limelight hydrangeas, holly ferns, and azaleas. Do not miss the courtyard with vintage fountain centered on a large brick patio. Accenting this sunny courtyard are small herb and flower beds enclosed by clipped hedges.
The Garden of Patty Branch Robinson at 1706 Stark Ave. will catch your eye immediately with natural elements of stone and wood. Designed by Mark Porter, the fence is a gracious combination of stacked stone pillars and wooden inserts adding a rich texture and detail to the front of the garden. Enormous stepping stones lead to a welcoming front entry highlighted by antique terra cotta planters with season color. Gas light lanterns add a feeling of warmth to the English Tudor styled architecture. A large tin roofed pavilion will entice you to linger, it is equipped with a stacked stone fireplace, and area for grilling, dining, lounging and the perfect spot for watching football on TV.
The day will not be complete without visiting The Pastoral Institute at 2022 15th Ave. The Pastoral Institutes hidden gem is the Sculpture Garden. The focal point in this public garden is a large bronze statue of depicting five children climbing a craggy outcropping. This bronze creation was given in honor of William B. Turner for his vision, passion, dedication, a d leadership of the Pastoral Institute and serving as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for 33 years.
The tour is May 20 9a.m.-3:00 p.m. and May 21 11:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Tour day tickets are available at each garden for $35 and in advance for $30.
Norman Winter is director of the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens at the Historic Bamboo Farm, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, and author of “Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South” and “Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden.” Follow him at: @CGBGgardenguru.