We recently did a Garden Talk showcasing the personal gardens of five different Master Gardeners in Walton County. It was so well received that we thought you would enjoy it as a blog. We hope to revisit these gardens over the next year to see how they change through the seasons so be sure to check back often.
Medicinal Herb Garden - Monroe
This charming garden, nestled in a 1 acre suburbia setting, is designed to heal the senses. The initial garden is laid out in a circular medicine wheel with a gazebo in the middle. Begun as a labor of love 11 years ago, and recently featured on the 2023 Monroe Walton Art Center garden tour this spring, Diane has managed to capture her love of chemistry, Indian lore, eclectic yard art, and science to create a medicinal garden of sights, sounds, smells and healing.
These pictures were taken in early May.
The medicine wheel garden, or sacred hoop, originates with Native American culture. It represented their relationship with the cosmos and the Creator. Many activities, from ceremony gatherings to eating and dancing, revolved around this central theme of a circle.
Watching over the garden is a statue of Saint Fiacre, the patron saint of gardening who used garden-grown herbs to cure many ailments. Holy Basil, John’s Wort, Horehound, Turmeric, Curry, Turmeric, and Lemon Grass are pictured here. We also saw Comfrey, Evening Primrose, Rugose Rose, Lemon Balm, Feverfew, Catnip, Echinacea, Calendula, and so much more.
The She-Shed, aptly named Diane’s Apothecary, is where the magic happens. Medicinal herbs are dried and processed into lotions, soaps, tinctures, lip balm and honey extractions
The apothecary has a storage area for supplies, books of the craft, a seed library, a seed starting station, antiques, WiFi and even a bathroom!
Two honeybee hives are found at the back of the property. This year she has expanded her garden with more pollinators for her hives.
Diane is growing Shitake mushrooms in these logs they have cut, drilled holes, plugged with shitake mushroom spawn, and then covered with wax. We will have to visit in the fall to see if she has any mushrooms.
Farmhouse Garden - Social Circle
Visiting Elaine’s garden was a step back in time. This Social Circle native has captured her love for her family’s roots in both her flowers and yard art pieces. As an educator, she loves to share her knowledge at Garden Talks and always has a plant to share. She and her husband, Glen, have fashioned a myriad of spots to linger and share a glass of sweet tea among the bees and flowers.
Favorite flowers from her childhood are given a place of honor in her garden and around every corner is another surprise to delight your senses.
These pictures were taken in early June.
When you first arrive, you are greeted by colorful pots of flowers. This agave plant stands watch at the entrance. How welcoming! A gravel pathway entices you to explore further. Old tools and wheelbarrows from her family farm are part of the charm in the landscape.
Plants welcome you around every bend to stop and enjoy the garden even more!
This garden shed is a beauty – and perfect for entertaining.
Beckoning you to step inside is pathway featuring old pavers from a garden in Social Circle owned by Natalie Dupree. Old bricks and vintage glass insulators decorate the walkway, while inside an old chair from her childhood decorates the wall.
Both Elaine and Glen love working in their garden and sharing their love of family with everyone who stops by!
Wildlife Paradise - Social Circle
Janet’s garden in Social Circle is always evolving. A native of Minnnesota, she fell in love with the quaintness of Social Circle five years ago and has turned her large lot into a wildlife habitat teeming with bees, birds, butterflies, chickens, and yes, even deer. Janet has quickly transformed her garden into a pollinator paradise, incorporating native trees, shrubs, and pollinator plants. She knows every plant and gladly shares her wealth of knowledge and expertise with everyone she meets.
These pictures were taken in early June and mid-July.
Pretty pots and lush landscaping greet you upon your arrival. Janet’s love for her garden shows around every corner.
A pretty pergola invites you to enter her gated shed and vegetable garden.
Janet is happiest digging in her garden, designing gardens for others, talking about gardens and sharing her plants.
Collector Garden - Monroe
Tucked back in a cul-de-sac of stately homes on the eastern side of Monroe is a collector garden of sustainability, wildlife support and multi-season interest. As you wander around the stone lined path, you venture upon a variety of native trees, hollies, hydrangeas, viburnums, flowering shrubs, flowers and ground cover, all lovingly tended and cultivated. Bees and butterflies happily buzz around and discovering what’s around the corner is like opening the door and entering various rooms.
Nancy's garden was initially created with a landscape plan 15 years ago, but it quickly became a labor of love and expansion. Plants are nurtured and encouraged and their leaves and limbs become part of the forest floor to support wildlife, rather than meticulously manicured and cleaned. In addition, Nancy knows every flower and tree as well as its Latin name and is happiest when digging up plants to share with anyone and everyone. These pictures were taken in late June.
A curved rock path border adds definition to the beds, as well as tidiness. Enlarging the garden bed just means moving the rock border out, which has been done several times over the years.
Afraid of losing trees and habitats, they bought the lot next to them on the cul-de-sac and have created their own wildlife sanctuary. Luster Leaf hollies and Arizona Cypress were planted to border the lot and add interest. Native trees include various oaks, including White Oak, cherry, pines, sweetgum, maple, blackgum and sourwood.
Did you know that the White Oak is the king of pollinators? This majestic tree is a slow-growing, deciduous, hardwood tree in the beech (Fagaceae) family and can reach heights of 135 feet with an 80-foot spread. It is native to the Eastern United States, and is a prolific supporter of wildlife for food and habitat, and supports a wide variety of butterflies and moths plus small mammals and songbirds. The acorns of white oak are edible (to humans) after tannins are leached or boiled out.
Magnolias include DD Blanchard, Little Gem, Teddy Bear, Sweet Bay, and Jane.
Nancy’s love of viburnums shows throughout her garden. Her collection of viburnums includes Prague, Shasta, Chinese Snowball, Walter’s Dwarf, Spring Bouquet, Sweet viburnum, and natives Arrowwood, Mohawk Cross and Coney.
A true southerner can never have too many hydrangeas! Varieties include Annabelle, Summer Crush, Hot Red, Penny McHenry, Star, Twist & Shout, Ruby Slippers, White Adore, and of course, the beloved Oak Leaf.
Live mulch (ground cover) includes ajuga, lysimachia, pachysandra, mondo grass, spike moss, strawberry begonia, lamium (dead nettle), persian chocolate, creeping jenny, and moneywort.
Even cherished pets have a final resting place in her garden.
Nancy's garden is a wonderful collection of native trees, live mulch, flowers, and shrubs that sustain nature and welcome all to wander and enjoy.
Wildland Shade Garden - Social Circle
Our last stop in this Garden Tour is a subdivision clubhouse in Social Circle that has created a beautiful wildland shade garden from plants propagated and donated by their residents and spearheaded by Carol, one of our Master Gardeners that lives in the neighborhood. It just goes to prove you don’t always need a lot of money to create a beautiful space - just time and patience.
The “theme” is whatever (a) will grow in GA clay, (b) survive in the shade, and (c) deer don’t eat.
Most of the beds are shade. The only “care” they get is the original planting, a fertilizer spike (for the shrubs) in spring and fall, and either rainfall or water from the underground sprinklers. These clubhouse plants need to be hardy!
For very little cost, this hill was transformed by the Lenten roses and daffodils, which originally came from Carol's house in Pennsylvania. Hellebores (Lenten Rose) are native to Turkey. They are easy to grow (in shade), don’t require much care, and deer don’t bother them. They also drop lots of seeds, so you get oodles of free plants.
Jack-in-the-pulpits are native to North America. Think of a church in colonial days - the preacher stood at a pulpit with a sounding board above his head. That allowed the sound of the preacher’s voice to bounce off the board and out towards the congregation, rather than getting lost at the ceiling. The jack-in-the-pulpit has the pulpit (at the base) with the sounding board above it. If you lift that flap, you’ll see “Jack” (actually the male part of the flower) standing tall and straight inside. The jack-in-the-pulpits at the clubhouse originated from Carol's house in Pennsylvania, planted in a shady spot when she moved to Georgia, and had many babies – enough to scatter around her house and extras to plant at the clubhouse.
For the fall, she will be taking cuttings from a neighbor's lantana plant (Miss Huff), butterfly weed (grown from seed), Guara (rooted from her own plants), and possibly abelia (Rose Creek) (rooted from her plants) and fill in more of the hill near the clubhouse. And the beauty of it all is that they will be free. We will definitely be checking back to see this transformation and how sharing flowers brings a lot of joy to these residents.
Thank you for joining us on this journey through five gardens in Walton County. We hope that you will take some inspiration from each of these gardens and apply them to your own. We like to think that is what gardening is all about – sharing, discovering and learning from each other. What matters most is the joy we get when we see the hummingbirds, hear the honey bees, smell the flowers, touch the velvet leaves, and taste the fruits and vegetables.
Do you have a garden you would like us to feature? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org - we would love to visit your garden!
“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.” Alfred Austin