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2011 Gwinnett Master Gardener Garden Tour

Susan Varlamoff with Dr. John Pickering

By Susan Varlamoff, garden host

By foot and by car pool, family, neighbors, friends, fellow Master Gardeners, and the general public found their way to my Lilburn garden and that of my neighbor’s for the Gwinnett County Master Gardener’s Garden Tour on May 21. Approximately 100 people, ages 4 years old to 80-something, wound their way around my planet friendly landscape. They paused first to admire the front yard koi pond outfitted with biological filter built 20 years ago by my three sons and my husband. The most frequently asked question – how do you prevent the great blue heron from dining on the fish??  Answer – We can’t. Note the absence of small and medium size fish.

Visitors next circled the front perennial beds that include an herb garden that attracts beneficial insects to keep the pests under control. Then they descended stone steps into the wooded back yard where a pure white marble Vietnamese statue stands under the canopy of trees. From this point, visitors could meander along walkways through beds of native and shade loving plants.

Following the tour, visitors relaxed on the deck overlooking the backyard to sip lemonade and to enjoy homemade pound cake with farm fresh strawberries. When they finished, I pointed them down the street to Jane Trentin’s native plant garden.

The entire experience was gratifying for me. The pre-tour offered an opportunity to visit my fellow Master Gardener’s beautiful and charming gardens they had labored lovingly over. The visitors to my garden were very interesting and included doctors, environmental educators, and specialists in native plants, birds, and insects, and avid gardeners looking for new ideas or a fun outing.  Dr. John Pickering, a UGA entomologist, showcased his Discover Life program which helps identify trees, plants and insects.

2011 Garden Tour – Sue Shaw

One of the gardens on the May 21, 2011 Garden Tour

Sue Shaw’s front yard consists of a rose garden and azalea lined driveway leading to a front courtyard with hellebores, ferns, heuchera, macrophyla hydrangeas and callas.

The greenhouse shade garden is home to Annabelle and lacecap hydrangeas as well as trillium, ferns and other shade plants.  The backyard and pool area is a tropical Shangri-La with 25′ windmill palm and separate Japanese garden and sitting area.

Greenhouse Shade Garden


2011 Garden Tour – Linda Edwards

One of the gardens on the May 21, 2011 Garden Tour

Linda Edwards’ Garden

Linda and Steve Edwards’ lovely Peachtree Corners garden is a welcome retreat.  This certified National Wildlife Habitat is designed to have something blooming each season.  Visitors enter the garden through an arbor draped with a living curtain of evergreen ‘Armandii’ Clematis.   A flagstone path leads to a lawn surrounded by a lush perennial and shrub border.  A stunning glazed ceramic fountain creates a beautiful focal point while soothing visitors with the sound of gurgling water.   Beyond the lawn, a woodland garden awaits.  Through plant rescues and many years of collecting, Linda has created a charming shady corner in her garden.  A circular path leads past edgeworthia, bottlebrush buckeye, camellias, fothergilla, pieris, rhododendron, native azaleas and viburnum. Shade perennials such as epimedium, Japanese roof iris, native ginger, woodland poppies, native geranium and several varieties of hosta and fern provide a second layer.  Spring ephemerals such as trillium, may apple, and native Solomon’s Seal grace the woodland garden for a fleeting moment before the heat of summer arrives.  The real treat in this garden is the wonderful plant combinations of both perennials and annuals.  Several gorgeous glazed ceramic containers are filled with creative displays of unusual annuals rarely found in nurseries.

Ceramic Containers

2011 Garden Tour – Payge Cox

One of the gardens on the May 21, 2011 Garden Tour

Wind your way around a flagstone path taking you to outdoor rooms designated for reflection and relaxation. Mostly shaded by mature hardwoods like maples, oaks and pines, the garden has sunny areas as well, displaying perennials like iris, daylilies and asters. Payge, a Gwinnett County Master Gardener, tries to provide an inviting environment for birds, insects and wildlife. She plants with the lifecycle of the butterfly in mind not following any particular color scheme. Her property backs up to deciduous woods accented with a creek. She says her biggest challenges are extreme temperature changes, summer droughts, clay and DEER. She believes if you garden in Georgia successfully, you can garden anywhere! Come learn how she copes with nature’s adversity and see ways you can transform your side yard into an area of enchantment.

Payge Cox’s Garden