“It really resulted from love and necessity,” said Stone, who is a member of the Bartow County Master Gardeners. “When we moved in, it was in the summer and we had a lot of our traditional Southern thunderboomers. So we were moving in furniture and my wife looks outside and she says, ‘Where did this flash flood come from?’ ... [The water] just all runs down on [our property].
“So we went to Susan Howard — she’s a landscape architect — and she gave us a design. So we went from the design to digging. The main thing was water flow control. ... We had to do something to control it or it would be a continuing problem. We designed it out of love for my wife’s mother who was deceased. ... She loved nature and loved flowers.”
Along with watching the garden mature, Stone also said their recently constructed sitting area is one of his favorite features.
“I like the variegated varieties because they give you the white and green contrast, so a lot of our plants are variegated,” he said. “We have a collection of daylilies and cannas and evergreens. We’ve got a lot of evergreens, and then I’ve got a small cactus garden.
“One of the things we just finished up was we put an elevated deck and sitting area with an arbor on it. ... A garden to me is a place to relax — to get the stress off. But it’s also a place for meditation and reflection. So we try and use it for both. ... We’re really enjoying the sitting area and gazebo because we can sit there and hear the water rippling, bubbling. In the afternoons when the sun sets, it’s just beautiful.”
With various plants currently blooming, including hydrangeas, daylilies and roses, the Stones’ property will offer various splashes of color when the public visits on June 1. During the Bartow Health Access’ Pond & Garden Tour, he is looking forward to assisting the Cartersville nonprofit and inspiring other green thumbs.
“We do this a lot,” Stone said, referring to visiting regional gardens. “We just went to Gibbs Gardens. [It is important to have the opportunity] just to relax and enjoy the nature around you and get away from the electronics and stress and to see God’s handiwork, because I can’t take credit for any of the plants.
“That’s created by somebody that’s bigger than me. And [when you tour gardens you can] see projects that you can do at home that are easy. ... What we have done, just about anybody can do. This is for the everyday person.”
Situated at 8 Mossy Rock Lane S.W., the Stones’ garden will be one of 10 private properties on the Pond & Garden Tour — one of two events benefiting Bartow Health Access June 1. For $20, attendees also will be able to visit the following landscapes from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. — 4 Stonehenge Court, 13 Sterling Court, 17 Galway Drive, 21 Grove Park Circle, 7 Ferry View, 4 Howard Heights, 50 Cassville Road, 61 Aubrey Road N.E. and 95 Aubrey Road N.E.
All of the destinations are located in Cartersville, except for the Aubrey Road addresses, which are in White. A map of the properties is posted on Bartow Health Access’ website, www.bartowhealthaccess.org, and individuals can tour the listings in any order.
“Some of the complaints we had last year said they were too spread out,” said Pond & Garden Tour Coordinator Vicki Jones, whose property was featured on last year’s offering. “People could not get to all of them. So my focus this year was clustering. We have three in [The] Waterford. We have two in the Grove Park neighborhood. We have one in Mission Estates. We have two in [downtown Cartersville] ... and then we have two out next to each other in White. So we sort of made it more user-friendly.
“Because I don’t have a koi pond, my focus is gardens. [But] it’s supposed to be a pond and garden tour and that’s the way I took it. It’s going to be both ponds and gardens. Not every property will have a koi pond but it will have its own feature, [for example] one in Waterford is on the river. ... It’s nice to have [diverse properties] to look at as far as size and pocketbook. Not everybody can afford big fancy schmancy things. [So] we have your cookie-cutter neighborhood kind of gardens [where] they have raised it to [the next] level and then we have big properties that are out in the country.”
Following the tour, Between Bartow’s Hedges: A Garden Party with Master Gardener Vince Dooley will begin at 6 p.m. at the Clarence Brown Conference Center in Cartersville. The $60 ticket also will cover admission to the Pond and Garden Tour.
Proceeds from the benefits will support the Bartow Health Access, which recently transitioned from a referral center to a primary health care home. Located at 31 Pointe North Drive in Cartersville, its Louis B. Tonsmeire Clinic features a full-time medical director/family practice physician and part-time nurse practitioner.
Currently seeing patients by appointment on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, the clinic will be open full time in July. The recent completion of the building’s unfinished portion is enabling the facility to offer 10 additional exam rooms, a medical dispensary, a nursing station, laboratory, a community health education space and behavioral health rooms.
Since 2008, the nonprofit has assisted more than 10,000 uninsured residents with health care referrals. Since the need for the nonprofit’s services are so widespread, patients now are not required to reside in Bartow to receive assistance.
“We know right now that in Bartow County we have over 26,000 individuals who do not have health insurance,” BHA Executive Director Roberta Green said. “We anticipate that that number is only going to get bigger as we begin to implement the Affordable Care Act. So what Bartow Health Access does is we provide comprehensive primary health care and specialty care and behavioral health services for those who do not have insurance. Patients participate in their health care. They pay based on a sliding fee scale. We also take Medicaid and Medicare. They can come here and receive their whole primary care for their whole family in one place.
“It’s important for people to be able to establish a relationship and have a primary health care home rather than just doing episodic visits in an urgent care center or in a emergency room or whatever. It’s important to do that because in the primary care setting, this is where we are able to make early detection of diseases. We’re able to provide the care that you need. ... When you come to a primary care doctor, the primary care doctor looks at the whole picture. When you go to the emergency room or when you go to an urgent care center, they’re just looking at what the chief complaint is for the reason that you’re going in.”
Prior to June 1, tickets for the Pond & Garden Tour and the Garden Party with Dooley — former University of Georgia football coach turned Master Gardener — can be purchased by calling Bartow Health Access at 678-535-7216, viewing www.bartowhealthaccess.org or visiting six Cartersville locations: Sam Franklin’s Home Furnishing Center; Cody J’s; Periwinkle; Riley’s Menswear, Meg Pie and the Bartow Health Access.
More details about Bartow Health Access and its upcoming benefits can be found on www.facebook.com/BartowHealthAccessInc.