Calling her property a “little piece of paradise,” Teresa LeMay is thrilled to have her yard featured on The Magnolia Garden Club's Pond and Garden Tour. On Saturday, her and her husband’s creations at 118 Pioneer Trail in Cartersville will be one of six showcased by the annual offering.
“118, as we call it, is a heavily wooded 3-acre property and has been in the LeMay family since 1965,” Mrs. LeMay said. “In the fall of 1996, we moved in. At that time, the property was beautifully planted and maintained, so there wasn’t much to do but enjoy.
“The next spring our first outdoor project to make 118 our own was to install a koi pond. We had a small pond at the home we left and loved it so much that installing one at 118 was a must. After installing the pond, our effort at gardening was a few annuals and planted pots around the patio.”
Their minimal gardening efforts changed years later when their trees matured. Turning sunny areas into shady spots, this development took a toll on their existing plants.
“It was time to roll up our sleeves and get to work if we were going to save our yard,” Mrs. LeMay said. “I am not sure when a true effort to have a nice garden space actually began, but once it started it was infectious. We found ourselves working in the yard as often as possible.
“It was hard work, but it was also therapy to us. The koi pond became the core of our garden and from there we just built out. It’s a small garden space in a big yard. We love that it’s cozy and private and shady. It’s the perfect space to relax and enjoy the outdoors.”
Along with the koi pond, the LeMays property features a 50-year-old Chinese chestnut tree, white dogwoods, maple trees, azaleas, lilies, irises, hydrangeas, amaryllises and various colorful annuals.
“My husband, Dee, and I were delighted to be asked to participate in this year’s Pond and Garden Tour,” she said. “We love our little piece of paradise. And as simple as our gardens are, we are very excited to share with our Cartersville neighbors what we enjoy every day.”
From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., The Magnolia Garden Club’s tour will highlight the gardens and water features on the offering's designated properties. Along with the LeMays garden at 118 Pioneer Trail, the event will include the landscapes located at 73 Reynolds Bridge Road, Kingston; 236 Amberwood Trail, Euharlee; 15 Campfire Trail, Euharlee; 27 Charles St., Cartersville; and 4 Howard Heights, Cartersville. The Amberwood Trail site also will feature a plant sale.
“There are beautiful gardens all over Bartow County and this year our tour features some that were exemplary examples of what our interests are in our club,” said Vicki C. Jones, chairwoman of the Pond and Garden Tour. “Some are older gardens dating back to 1909 and some are more recent in the last few years. We picked gardens that we thought would appeal to a large cross section of garden lovers.
“Some have amazing DIY projects. All have some form of water feature. One garden showcases Georgia native plants on a beautiful wooded 2-acre lot with outdoor dining and serene nature views. Another is a beautiful secluded property in the heart of [Cartersville’s] historic district. … We hope that there will be something of interest and knowledge to be taken away from every garden.”
Prior to the event, tickets for the Pond and Garden Tour are $15, and can be purchased in advance online at www.eventbrite.com or at Nola's Bakery, Periwinkle and Sam Franklin’s Home Furnishing Center. On Saturday, tickets can be obtained at any of the tour venues for $20.
Like LeMay, Dr. Joseph and Cheryl Burch’s residence on Reynolds Bridge Road is situated on their family’s land. Calling the site home since February 2016, their 5-acre property originally was uncultivated, leading the couple to clear a spot to build.
“We hired landscape architect, Tommy Holcomb, out of Birmingham to design a native landscape plan that we could implement ourselves,” Mrs. Burch said. “We enjoy seeing the bright colors of the native azaleas, the rhododendron and camellias.
“As a Master Gardener, I am constantly looking for ways in add to our gardens. Joe has been gardening and using native plants in landscaping for most of his adult life. He has knowledge about plants that directs the design and flow of the land.”
While Mrs. LeMay refers to her property as 118, the Burches call their home the Fence Post Farm.
“We named our property the Fence Post Farm as a testament to the way that life has a way of developing and turning out for the best,” she said. “Sometimes as things and events shape and mold your life, you wonder what direction God is leading you and why things happen.
“We have found that as you look back over the years that there is a plan, and events and history molds us into being better people and that the fence post all line up eventually and there is a design that corals and puts us where we need to be.”
Bearing the theme “Art in the Garden,” The Magnolia Garden Club’s tour will feature painters at nearly all of the properties.
“The garden tour is called ‘Art in the Garden’ because a plein air artist — en plein air, French for outdoors, or plein air painting is the act of painting outdoors — will be at most gardens most of the day actively creating in their favorite medium, so tour participants can see the garden through these artists’ eyes,” Jones said. “All of these plein air artists are members of BAG (Booth Museum Art Guild).
“Original works of arts will be on display at the Howard Heights property and raffle tickets will be available for purchase — from garden club members or at each host garden the day of the tour — one ticket, $5; three tickets for $10; and seven tickets for $20. And you can pick the art piece you wish to win with your tickets.”
Established in 1949, The Magnolia Garden Club currently consists of 36 members and will celebrate its 70th anniversary this year.
Proceeds from Saturday’s tour will help support the club’s various outreach efforts, such as a pair of Junior Garden Clubs, maintenance of Laura’s Garden at Rose Lawn Museum, garden therapy at local adult care facilities, horticulture scholarships for Chattahoochee Technical College students and grants to area high schools.
For more information about the Pond and Garden Tour, visit the club’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/Magnolia-Garden-Club-Cartersville-554757014706540.