Historic Highland Road Gardens
Sunday, May 3, 2015
The LSU Hilltop Arboretum will hold its second spring garden tour “Historic Highland Road Gardens” on Sunday, May 3 from 1pm to 5pm.
Weaving along a line of natural bluffs that served as a barrier to the Mississippi River flood plain, Highland Road was established as a supply road for indigo and cotton plantations of the earlier settler’s, as an alternative to the often flooded River Road. Following Bayou Fountain south from the City of Baton Rouge, the high land allowed for settlements safe from flooding, and one will marvel at the dips and rises along Highland Road in travelling to our garden sites along the way in some of the roads most beautiful subdivisions – Highland Ridge, Myrtle Hill, and Knox Hill.
The garden tour hosts are Charla and David Wade (16612 Autumn Ridge Avenue, 70810), Dr. Anthony and Susan Ioppolo (846 Myrtle Hill Drive, 70810), Belinda and Charles King (10245 Knox Hill Court, 70810), and Sherryl and Bob Tucker (10229 Veranda Court, 70810).
You can start the tour at any of the four gardens featured. Visit www.lsu.edu/hilltop for garden descriptions, and a tour map.
Tour tickets are $20 and available for purchase at the LSU Hilltop Arboretum, online at www.lsu.edu/hilltop or at each garden on the day of the tour. Student tickets (with ID) are $5.
Before or after you tour the gardens, a nice selection of plants will be available for sale at the LSU Hilltop Arboretum at 11855 Highland Road anytime from 1-5pm the afternoon of the tour.
Highland Ridge Subdivision
16612 Autumn Ridge Avenue
Baton Rouge, LA 70810
At the back of a subdivision off of Historic Highland Road, sits a home with a unique elevation change undetectable from the street with an array of gardens you must see.
The gardens of David and Charla Wade surround their double lot home sight in Highland Ridge Subdivision. The façade from the front view turns into a beautiful ridge with a 30 foot sloping elevation change to the bottom land flood plains of Bayou Fountain.
Alongside the driveway, a 100 foot stream runs down the natural elevation change of the property. The stream begins with a water fall flowing into a pond running downstream to a koi pond at the bottom. Stop along the way and listen to the multiple waterfalls along the stream. A variety of greenery surrounds the stream from top to bottom. You will see the rising sun redbud which exhibits the leaves that come out orange, fade to yellow, and then turn green where they remain for the season. See the Chinese fringe tree and the bright red color of the bottle brush tree that surround the koi pond. Also, a diverse variety of trees include parasols, vitex, and Chinese pistachio. An abundance of plants meander among the rocks of the stream. Stone benches are available for sitting and observing the surrounding views.
Next, take notice of the shade garden under the deck at the back of the home. A surprise waits among the thriving ferns, hostas and other specimens. It is a miniature train that circles the garden crossing over two streams flowing into a pond. Bordering the shade garden, you will see the coral bark maple and bloodgood Japanese maple intermingled with parasols and a forest pansy redbud. The large drake elm offers nice shade to the deck.
Afterwards, walk over to the infinity edge pool and enjoy a different environment. Here you will see a colorful display of tropical plants and small gardens that encompass the pool house. Just outside the pergola, a sugar kettle water feature is hidden beneath the parasols, banana shrubs, and pineapple guava.
Walk up the hill observing the variety of trees including cypress, white oak, tulip poplar, nuttall oak, American sycamore, and a rare ginkgo. Complete the adventure walking up the outside stairs to an observation deck providing an aerial view of all the gardens. From this upper deck, you can see the natural privacy screen and wind break of eastern red cedars as well as an over view of the entire array of gardens.
Myrtle Hill Subdivision
846 Myrtle Hill Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70810
Four acres of ever expanding gardens and outdoor living spaces encompass the property of Susan and Tony Ioppolo.
The front of the house includes two fountains, one of which is surrounded by a secluded rose garden with a bench for moments of quiet relaxation. As you go through the iron-gate from the rose garden, you enter a small patio with another fountain emptying into a sugar kettle planted with water lilies. From here you catch the first glimpse of the three-quarter acre pond with central fountain and another patio where you can relax and watch the fish rise like piranhas to engulf the food thrown by the automatic fish feeder. The diversity of fish you will see include bass, bream, catfish and carp. The pond is surrounded by cypress trees and lush planting.
Behind the house is the main patio which features one of the largest bottlebrush trees you will ever see. When in bloom, it offers a buffet for hummingbirds. On the patio there is a koi pond with a fountain. Some of the koi are over 20 years old and have been moved by the Ioppolo’s from house to house just like a regular pet. The patio also includes and outdoor cook center, arbor and outdoor fireplace.
As you go down some steps, you enter the pool area, and beyond that is another building that serves as Tony’s man cave. Beyond this building, the backyard blends into an area that has been left wooded and which then ends at Bluebonnet Swamp.
On the side of the pool, there is a small vegetable garden and an area dedicated to a fruit orchard.
Scattered across the property are numerous trees including live oak, cypress, magnolia, vitex, Japanese tulip, river birch, redbud, and Japanese maple. Azalea, ginger, camellia, hosta, fern, gardenia and numerous Louisiana annuals surprise the visitor at every turn.
Knox Hill Subdivision
10245 Knox Hill Court
Baton Rouge, LA 70810
In early spring, the pathway into our old fashioned southern garden is filled with blooming Japanese magnolia trees and crape myrtles. I love to step outside my door to the smell of sweet olive or lie by the pool and smell the fragrant orange blossoms.
In 1999, our yard was transformed from a gentle, sloping grassy back yard to the beautiful oasis you see today. The original landscape and pool designer/architect, Eduardo Jenkins, held on to the house’s original redwood octagonal deck and designed around it to create a series of waterfalls cascading into our lagoon style pools. The caladium lined pond off the right adds to the calm and cools the vine covered deck, creating a perfect refuge almost year round to relax and read in the swing or in one of the rockers. An abundance of ginger, plumbago, split leaf philodendron, roses, agapanthus and a variety of ferns, cast irons and day lilies grow in the numerous beds allowing me to make beautiful arrangements for inside our home as well. Additionally, it is always fun to dot color all around the yard with pots of seasonal flowers.
Entertaining has been a delight in our piece of paradise! One of our most memorable was when my daughter graduated from LSU and we had a party that included a blues band set up on the pool deck, the adjoining stone deck made a great dance floor, bar set up on the northern deck between house and pond, and candle lit tables on dotted the landscape on each of the round decks surrounding the pool. What a night! Many warm family weekends have been shared here as well from birthdays, showers, to just lazy Saturday mornings.
Sherryl and Bob Tucker
10229 Veranda Court
Baton Rouge, LA 70810
Sherryl and Bob Tucker built their house in Knox Hill in 1987. They planted numerous azaleas and trees to complement the lot, built around old pecan trees from the old Knox estate and a pond in the very back of their yard bordering Bluebonnet Swamp. Bob says, “We have to deal with quite a bit of wildlife out of the swamp, including numerous desirable (and undesirable) critters.” They constructed winding gravel paths through their back yard, winding among numerous large George Tabor azaleas, dwarf azaleas and Indian hawthorns. Their plantings include river birches, Japanese magnolias, holly hedges and bedding areas. The bedding areas include a small raised vegetable garden, annual beds and many hydrangeas. As the plants have aged, replacements have added some additional variety to the yard. The paths connect the pool area, with a recently added outdoor cooking pavilion, to the pond. At the edge of the pond are bald cypresses and dawn redwoods acquired at the Hilltop Arboretum Plant Sale over 25 years ago.