Garden Tour was a resounding success

Published 12:09 am Friday, May 16, 2008

Gardeners believe that God smiles through flowers and that people smile while strolling through gardens. Many smiles spread throughout Natchez when hundreds of gardening enthusiasts from near and far participated in the second annual Symphony of Gardens Tour May 2 and 3. The fascinating tour of 12 diverse gardens was produced by Grow Natchez Gardens, a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and educating people about the joys of gardening. Our slogan is “Beautifying Natchez, garden by garden.”

The event couldn’t have occurred without the generosity and support of the gracious garden owners who, with true Southern hospitality, welcomed visitors to their gardens. Thank you Butch and Shields Brown, Stella and Phillip Carby, Patrick Doherty and Bill Crews, Durell Epperson, Buzz Harper, Ginger Hyland, Dickey and Sue King, Marcia and John McCullough, David and Betty Paradise, Bobbie and Joe Smith, Rena Jean Schmieg and Neil Varnell. Each garden reflected the owners’ personalities and aesthetics and provided inspiration for visitors.

Nor could we have had such a good time without the special help of many volunteers who live and garden in Natchez. They took tickets and graciously assisted visitors in the gardens.

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Music in the gardens makes this event so special, and the talented artists from the Natchez Festival of Music added notes of elegance and grace during their performances at The Towers and The Cedars.

Our gratitude goes to the city of Natchez, for enthusiastic support and valuable publicity efforts. As a result of Sally Durkin’s press efforts, the AAA Southern Traveler included the Symphony of Gardens as a Travel Treasure, featured in the May issue. It brought many people to Natchez for the tour.

Financial assistance from Concordia, United Mississippi, and Britton & Koontz banks was also much appreciated. Fred’s Greenhouses also was a contributor. This helped alleviate the costs of brochures and poster production as well as other costs involved in producing public events.

The literature was beautifully created and produced by Glenn Owen, creative director for the GodwinGroup who donated their design services.

This event was truly a labor of love, for gardening and for Natchez. Symphony of Gardens Tour committee members Bob Barnes, Gail Healy, Lucy Miller, Jay Owens, Paris Winn and Lucianne Wood volunteered countless hours to make this garden tour so successful.

Proceeds will be used to further the efforts of Natchez garden clubs for maintenance of their public gardens and for the Natchez Festival of Music. We’re already planning the 2009 garden tour, so mark your calendars for May 1 and 2.

Come and stroll through splendid gardens and smile with the flowers.

Karen Dardick is president of Grow Natchez Gardens.