Gardens to delight during tours

Published 12:03 am Thursday, April 22, 2010

Grab your camera, wear a comfortable pair of walking shoes and enjoy the beauty of gardens during the fourth annual Symphony of Gardens Tour, a rare opportunity to view exquisite private and estate gardens in historic Natchez.

It begins Friday afternoon, April 30 and continues Saturday morning, May 1. The self-guided tours include a variety of gardens and is a production of Grow Natchez Gardens, Inc. Profits will be used for gardening workshops and other gardening activities in Natchez.

The tour celebrates the beauty of flowers and landscapes. People who love to garden can become inspired by design ideas and fascinating plants and plant combinations. People who love beauty will appreciate the artistry of gardening.

Seven of the finest gardens in Natchez will be open for tour participants and a special gardening workshop will take place Saturday afternoon at the Natchez Convention Center. The workshop is free with garden tour ticket, and will feature local garden enthusiasts who will share their secrets for successful gardening in Natchez. I will talk about the best roses for Natchez, Gabriel Cassagne will explain, with photos, how he created his landscape featuring roses, perennials, shrubs and annuals suited for this Southern climate. Simple steps for successful composting is Lucy Miller’s topic, and local landscape designer Betty Lou Nettles will explain some simple design principles.

An abundance of door prizes and giveaways include free samples of Messina deer repellent for gardens to the first 150 participants, coupons for landscape maintenance from Blade Runners, a $35 gift certificate for Bonnie plants, Cole bird seed and a nifty hummingbird feeder. Darby’s fudge, plants from local nurseries and other gardening goodies will also be part of the door prize excitement.

Gardens on tour include acres of colorful strolling gardens at Monmouth; formal designs and intricate, colorful plantings at Gloucester; the elaborate sculpture gardens at The Towers; creative designs of Jimmy Guercio; the Fitch family’s pet friendly town garden; Thompson woodland garden, and the colorful courtyard garden at Wilkes Town House. Plants reflect a diversity of types, according to the homeowners’ preferences. Some are traditional for Mississippi historic landscapes; others are contemporary versions of old favorites. Designs range from formal and classic to contemporary and informal.

Tickets for the Symphony of Gardens Tour are $15 per person for Friday or Saturday and $25 per person for both days. They are available online at or and at the Natchez Visitors Center. For more information, call 601-446-6345.

Karen Dardick is president of Grow Natchez Gardens, Inc, an avid gardener and a freelance garden writer.