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Through Our Garden Gates


Article & Photos by Nancy Brannon

Memphis Area Master Gardeners opened their gates to visitors on Saturday June 5, 2021 with a tour of six of their personal gardens, located in the Bartlett – Ellendale, TN area. The six gardens differed in design, style, size and features, but all were designed by the home gardeners who also did the majority of the installation themselves. The tour showcased how these Master Gardeners had solved drainage problems, built water features, selected plants for sun and shade, maximized small spaces, and made large spaces more intimate.

This year’s tour also featured Plein Air artists working on site to capture the beauty of each garden.

One garden sported a “Certified Wildlife Habitat” sign, certified by the National Wildlife Federation, because it offers the four basic elements needed for wildlife to thrive: food, water, cover, and places to raise young.

There were plenty varieties of hydrangea, hostas, lilies, and other plants that thrive in the mid-south at each location.
There was lots of whimsy with all kinds of garden statuary and garden art, plus a wide variety of containers for “container gardening,” including traditional pots, a Radio Flyer red wagon filled with plants, water troughs, tires, and even a metal trash can filled with plants.

There were several unique bird bath features, many at one home where the Master Gardener teaches how to make bird baths with large plant leaves.

The central feature at one location was a dense vegetable garden with tomato plants with ripe tomatoes, basil, garlic, curly kale, squash, strawberries, sunflowers, beans, and a variety of other edibles.

By far the most impressive display was a central water feature in the garden, starting with a waterfall, flowing into a small stream that was traversed by a red Japanese-style bridge (resembling the one at Memphis Botanic Gardens), and culminating into a pond.

Some plant societies were on hand to boost interest in their specific plants, like the Mid-South Daffodil Society and the Mid-South Hosta Society.

UT Extension agents, the home gardeners, and other master gardeners were on hand at each location to answer questions and give plant advice. Visitors could also get a list of specific plants growing at each location.

And, of course, every garden needs a seating place where one can relax and enjoy the serenity and beauty of the garden after the work is done.

The tour was free and open to the public, with COVID-19 protocols in place. Donations to the Memphis Area Master Gardeners were appreciated.

In addition to the garden tour, the Memphis Area Master Gardeners offers more events during the year. In June, the organization hosts a Junior Master Gardener Plant Camp for girls and boys ages 8-12 at Agricenter International. The gardeners pass along their knowledge to the youngsters, teaching them about nature while having fun in the amazing world of plants. Check their website to find out more about the community, educational events they offer.

Find out more about Memphis Area Master Gardeners at:

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