For the first time in more than a decade, the garden gates of some of Mount Airy’s finest gardens will be opened wide on June 10, and the public will be able to enjoy these beautiful spaces.
All three of Mount Airy’s garden clubs — Garden Gate, Modern Gardeners and Mountain View — have teamed up to organize “Mount Airy Blooms,” which will showcase eight examples of the gardener’s art.
“There hasn’t been a garden tour in Mount Airy since 2003 when the Junior Women’s Club sponsored the last one,” said Ginny Adams, one of the organizers of this year’s tour.
“A number of us have been going on garden tours for years, all over Virginia and other places, and some of them were in small towns,” said Adams.
In order to explore the idea of holding a tour in Mount Airy, a steering committee was formed in January of 2016 with members from the three Mount Airy garden clubs The committee was mentored by garden club members from Winston-Salem who put on a garden tour there, volunteers were recruited and sponsorship was procured.
“It has just evolved,” says Judy Rhoden, another organizer. “I’ve met people I’ve lived in the same time with for a long time and enjoyed getting to know them.” Rhoden said that it was not hard to sign up gardens for the tour. “Everyone was very open to the idea and was excited about it.”
“Gardeners love to share,” adds Adams, “and our donors have been very generous with us. We appreciate it deeply.”
“It’s a wonderful way to show off our little town,” says Rhoden, as she emphasized the diversity of gardens that will be on display. There is everything from a working farm to gardens that adjoin the central business district. Main Street itself is a stop on the tour with the urban landscaping done by Michella Huff in the pocket parks and on the street.
One garden has been reclaimed from a bank parking lot. After it was purchased in 2015, the new owner broke up the pavement and has since established a Certified Wildlife Habitat on the property complete with a beehive from the Surry Beekeepers Association.
A working farm on Hollyview Farm Road boasts a house built in 1845 by Chang Bunker and a very old rosebush complete with romantic legends as to its origin. The rose is a Burr rose, sometimes called a chestnut rose or a chinquapin rose. The variety came to England from China in 1820 and made its way to America soon after. It is sometimes found in old Southern gardens and one of those gardens is at the farm on Hollyview Farm Road and will be available for viewing on June 10.
“We are going after the bones of these gardens,” says Adams. “The spring bulbs will be gone, roses may be between flushes but the annuals will have had time to settle in.”
“And it’s not just about flowers. There will be vegetables and edibles to see as well,” adds Rhoden, also stressing the importance of a garden’s bones.
“Bones” is a term used by gardeners to describe the elements that are permanent and that provide structure: trees, shrubs, arbors, walls, trellises, walkways, and statuary or other sculptural elements. They represent the garden at its most basic. Thus, a garden with good bones is attractive at any time of the year.
Master Gardeners are also participating in the tour. They’ll have demonstrations and talks on a variety of topics at The Blue House on Main Street. Proposed topics include beekeeping, container gardening, garden pests and disease, herbs, edible gardens, vermiculture, color wheel in the garden, and native plants.
Proceeds raised from “Mount Airy Blooms” will go to support garden club projects in the area, including the Joan and Howard Woltz Hospice Home Rose Garden, restoration of the gardens at the Historic Moore House, maintenance and upkeep of the Main Street mini-garden fountain, lobby arrangements at Northern Hospital and special programming for the Jones School exceptional children’s class.
“Mount Airy Blooms” is June 10 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tickets are $20. and are on sale at Webb Interiors, 1191 W. Lebanon St., Mount Airy, and online at Eventbrite.com.
A Box Luncheon will be available under the Pavilion at Cross Creek Country Club, 1129 Greenhill Road, for $12. It must be prepaid by June 5. A vegetarian meal is available. Please request when ordering.
Though some gardens are at historic homes, the tour is not a home tour. The gardens will be open but the houses will not be. Restrooms will be available at the comfort station on Main Street and at Cross Creek Country Club.
The tour is underwritten by BB&T Insurance Services, Inc., Carolina Environmental Contracting, Inc. and SouthData, Inc., as well as other sponsors and contributors.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.