The Garden Capital of Texas will showcase some of its most beautifully landscaped gardens during the Tour of Home Gardens, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 6 and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 7. Tickets are $20 and are on sale at the Charles Bright Visitor Center, 200 E. Main St.; International Tours, 3208 N. University Dr.; and Charles Pool Real Estate, 3505 North St.
This exclusive tour is thoughtfully curated by the Garden Capital of Texas Committee and includes stunning private home gardens and public gardens. Details for each garden destination will be on the ticket.
Sponsors of the Home Garden Tours are BancorpSouth, Commercial Bank of Texas, Charles Pool Real Estate, The Monarch Group of Raymond James, StretchER, Splash Kingdom, Heritage Title and Nacogdoches Abstract and Title Company.
The money raised by the tour will help fund the Garden Capital committee’s planting efforts. The Arbor Day Foundation officially designated Nacogdoches as a Tree City in 2015, after the city partnered with the Garden Capital committee and Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful to meet four core standards of urban forestry management.
For more information about the Garden Capital Tour of Home Gardens, contact the Garden Capital of Texas Committee at Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful, 936-560-5624 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gardencapital. The mission of the Nacogdoches Garden Capital of Texas Committee is to educate, engage and inspire Nacogdoches area citizens to become involved in beautifying their community green spaces. The Nacogdoches Garden Capital Committee is a part of Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful.
Gardens featured on this year’s tour include:
Bill Elliott, 4219 Raguet St.
“I love showing my garden to other people, but the disappointing thing is that you can’t see a garden with one visit,” Elliot said. “All year long something interesting is happing. It takes at least a year to see a garden.”
Elliot’s garden features azaleas and the queen of the garden, camellias, along with an assortment of other plants, including weigela, pineapple guava, loquat, pomegranate, banana shrub, assorted hydrangea, assorted viburnum, sweetshrub, toothache tree, bush cherry, green rose, assorted magnolias, sweet olive, tulip poplar, quince, and Mexican buckeye.
“I like unusual plants, so many of them don’t make it,” Elliot said. “Every day of the year, I find something new, surprising, and beautiful. I have a fence to keep the deer out, but the garden is open all of the time. Feel free to visit it any time.”
Lisa & Tim Rodrigues, 3930 Sir Gawain Dr.
This freeform home garden was designed by the homeowners, who started “from scratch” in 2010. There are East Texas standbys like azaleas and hydrangeas, and native plants – many of which were purchased from SFA plant sales through the years. A pool was added to the mix in 2016, which shook things up quite a bit. The Rodrigueses say their goal, like most gardeners, is to have something blooming year-round.
Barb Stump, 101 S. Sanders St.
This 2.5-acre landscape garden surrounds a 1901-vintage historic Queen Anne-style home. Designed by owner Barbara Stump, the Victorian period-appropriate “mixed shrub border” of sweet olive, purple plum yew, and “George Lindley Taber” and “Encore” azaleas encloses the front. A comfortable walkway is bordered by salvias and perennial flowers and shrubs. The gazebo, covered with evergreen wisteria, cross-vine, and roses provides a spot of shade. A wild ravine is now a “hidden garden” centered on a white wisteria plant, camellias, azaleas, bamboo, and blueberries. Planted in 2003-4, specimen Japanese Maples, Chinese Fringe Trees, Long-leaf Pine, and Tulip Poplar trees are strong vertical accents. Once a parking lot for the previous owners (a fraternity), the bed by the front porch is now a shrub and perennial bed. A collection of deciduous azaleas shaded by a patriarch red maple is stunning in spring. The selection of plants and trees provides fall color as well.
Le’Ann Solmonson, 1202 Chestnut St.
The Solmonson yard is a labor of love that has evolved each year with new projects. The front yard is accented with a number of flowerbeds filled with azaleas, hydrangeas, perennials, annuals, and a water fountain they constructed themselves. The flower-filled backyard
transitions into an urban farm with raised vegetable beds, herb gardens, fishpond, and backyard chickens. The yard has a number of fun accents, including a deck rail made from glass bottles.
Sculpture For All, Mast Arboretum and Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden; SFA campus, Wilson Drive Sculpture For All is an outdoor art exhibition showcasing a variety of sculptures nestled throughout the Mast Arboretum and Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden. The Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden is the largest azalea garden in Texas and features more than 7,000 azaleas and more than 1.25 miles of accessible trails. It is the centerpiece of Nacogdoches’ annual Azalea Trail. The first arboretum at a university in Texas, the Mast Arboretum covers more than 10 acres along the Lanana Creek Trail. Enjoy the wide diversity of plant life, including rare trees, shrubs, vines, perennials and the SFA horticulture program’s The Plantery. Visit the Monarch Waystation at the Jim and Beth Kingham Children’s Garden.