Natchez Symphony of Gardens on display Friday, Saturday

Published 12:26 am Wednesday, April 30, 2008

NATCHEZ — In music, symphonies have movements, and in Natchez, gardens do, too.

The Natchez Symphony of Gardens, a self-guided tour of private and estate gardens in the Natchez area, will be Friday and Saturday as a part of the Natchez Festival of Music.

“Gardens have sort of their first movement with the initial flush of azaleas and camellias in the early spring,” organizer Karen Dardick said. “We selected early May to encourage people to think beyond the early spring plant pallet and to tie in with the music festival.”

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The garden tours were organized so people who came to the festival of music would have something to do during the day, Dardick said.

This is the second time the symphony — which was named a Southern Travel Treasure by AAA Southern Traveler magazine — has been organized, and the gardens selected were chosen so viewers would be able to see a variety of gardens, Dardick said.

Owner of Greenlea Stella Carby said she was flattered to have her garden chosen for the tour, and that she has been studying to be able to answer any questions that visitors may ask.

“People who are interested in gardens usually have a lot of questions about horticulture because it’s one of those lifelong pursuits,” Carby said. “Because it’s a lifelong pursuit, it makes it interesting and fun to go somewhere and see what other people are doing.”

For Ginger Hyland, owner of The Towers, which has a sculpture garden of southwestern sculptures Hyland brought with her when she moved from New Mexico, participating in the symphony only makes sense.

“I moved here and fixed up this great Victorian house and garden, and the reason you do that is to share it,” Hyland said.

Proceeds from the symphony will go to the Festival of Music and Grow Natchez Gardens, a non-profit organization dedicated to beautifying Natchez’s public gardens.

The Festival of Music will host musical performances at 3 p.m. Friday at The Towers and 3 p.m. Saturday at The Cedars.

Tickets are available at the Natchez Visitor’s Center with prices set at $15 for adults, $10 for children and $25 for two-day tickets.

Maps will be available for the self-guided tours.

Other gardens on the tour include Mount Repose, King Courtyard, Smith/Schmeig gardens, Doherty-Crews garden, Ravennaside, McCullough Walled Garden, Riverside Garden and Bluff Top Garden.