Flora after the Freeze: Garden Spaces in River Bend, University Lakes, and Hundred Oaks
Sunday, May 18, 2014, 1-5pm
It is certain after our winter deep freeze almost all gardens in the Baton Rouge area have been affected. What was not certain was the fate of the 2014 Hilltop Spring Garden Tours. Several brave and dedicated gardeners stepped up to the plate so that we can offer you one spring tour on Sunday, May 18, 2014.
As you can imagine it has taken a leap of faith for our garden hosts to remain on the tour. We hope you will save the date and come out in support of these passionate gardeners who are working so hard to prepare their gardens for viewing this year. The tour will feature eclectic gardens in the River Bend, University Lakes, and Hundred Oaks areas including a backyard fern oasis with outdoor art, a woodland garden with a meandering rock lined stream and a camellia collection, a whimsical garden with lots of surprises that will lift your spirits, an extraordinary landscape designer’s garden, and a lush urban garden of varied textures and color.
You will not want to miss this tour and you will come away from it with a renewed interest in the power of nature to restore balance in a garden!
Hilltop’s Hodge Podge Nursery will be open for business the day of the tour, 1-5pm. See Plant Lists.
Patrice and Richard Ellis ~ 1402 Kenmore Avenue 70808
A gated front entry opens to a gravel path that winds through evergreen landscaping shaded by live oaks. An antique bench and chairs provide a place to rest and enjoy the lush greenery. The path leads through an iron gate that opens to reveal an outdoor living area. Perennials, annuals and tropical foliage define the walkways that wander past a sugar kettle, fish pond, gazebo and a garconniere. The covered porch spans the back of the home and includes both sitting and dining areas as well as a swing and a fireplace. A collection of bird feeders, concrete sculpture and wrought iron are nested within the view from the porch. A red tuteur, or trainer, is the focal point in the enclosed perennial and herb garden located at the side of the home.
Denise Van Schoyck and Terry Tuminello ~ 6236 Riverbend 70820
Riverbend subdivision is so close to LSU that residents can hear the chimes from the campanile as well as the action at Tiger Stadium during football season. But even in the shadow of the state’s flagship university, there are many dedicated gardeners who have created their own oases of serenity. The Van Schoyck - Tuminello residence features numerous, mature hardwood trees plus a gentle slope that provides a shady backyard retreat.
Situated on almost an acre, the lot posed a number of challenges compounded by the hurricanes which periodically altered the best of plans. A grove of mature camellias, some over 30 years old, cluster under deciduous trees providing color in the cold months and verdant cool in the heat of summer. A waterfall and stream reminiscent of a favorite autumnal getaway was recreated to emphasis the slope of the land. Plant selection has been eclectic with heavy emphasis on native and naturalized species punctuated by exotics.
And for those who chose to wander down the flagstone paths, there are places to sit and contemplate as well as a surprise for vegetable garden and fruit orchard enthusiasts’ beyond the garden gate.
Mary Johnson ~ 3155 Hundred Oaks 70808
Except for a small flower garden in an area close to the road which gets sun, my garden is predominately shade and semi-shade. As a result most of my remaining plants are adapted to these conditions. This includes shade tolerant natives, ferns, hostas and ligularia, and although this indicates few flowers it is an area rich in textures. Aside from my plant materials I like to subtly insert garden art.
Carol and Pete Newton ~ 1587 Richland Avenue 70808
Carol and Pete bought their home on Richland Avenue in December of 1992. They had always enjoyed the Hundred Oaks area and had been actively looking in the area for some time.
What they purchased was a much older, mostly frame home with jalousie windows and no insulation that actually sits on two half lots. Carol and Pete painted the house and cleaned up the landscape over the next three years. In the fall of 1995 they began renovations drawn by architect Don Zerinque. After the major renovations were complete, it was time to revisit the landscape. Pete drew a schematic plan that still guides their efforts today.
The garden is, in many ways, a garden of two lots combined. Large existing Sweet Gum trees give a wooded feel to much of the backyard providing shade for a mixed bag of plants. The other half has evolved over the years with Sweetbay Magnolias and Tulip Magnolias working together to provide the spaces around their home and pool. Large lawn areas provide the linkage through the garden.
Yet finished an existing back house provided a retreat for their boys when they were younger, and now anchors a vegetable garden that has rare moments of glory.
This work in progress represents a garden that is in large part “together” and one that might bring to mind “the cobbler’s children need new shoes!”
Dr. Joel Podolsky ~ 2598 Dalyrmple Drive 70808
This unique garden park surrounding the Frank Lloyd Wright style home of Dr. Podolsky has evolved and unfolded over the past 20 years. The home was initially just surrounded by cushiony St. Augustine grass lawn without any landscape at all when Dr. Podolsky purchased it in 1993. Since then he went on to transform the lawn from a living green blank canvas to an art-scape rather than just a landscape.
The garden park is a living, breathing three dimensional world and work of art that contains a variety of themes of different cultures, art and myths — Asian, oriental, rustic, Caribbean, wildlife, tropical, semi-tropical, mythical, whimsical, spiritual, playful, humorous and surprises. There are garden beds, ponds, archways, as well as metal and steel sculptures. The garden is painted with flowers and plants. There are large areas with shades of green, other areas with bursts of pink, red, or yellow, and then patches of violet and blue with a touch of yellow or pink. And then there are those funky garden folk art signs that include abstract African, Polynesian, and Native American influenced wooden masks. Brightly colored bird houses with all kinds of designs painted on them are a striking feature of the garden experience.