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Friday July 1st, 2022 7:11PM

Hall County Master Gardeners’ Garden Walk returns Saturday

By Natalie Sadler Anchor/Reporter

For those who love to garden or merely admire blossoming flowers and lush plants, Hall County Master Gardeners’ biennial Garden Walk will provide inspiration and education to garden enthusiasts.

The event was canceled last year due to the pandemic but will return Saturday. The event from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. is rain or shine and attendees can tour six gardens in Gainesville. 

Tickets can be purchased for $15 before the event at hallmvgardenwalk.com, the Lovett literacy community garden on Green Street, the Board of Education office or the UGA Extention Hall County office. Visitors can also buy tickets on the day of the event for $20 at the various gardens. 

Four of these gardens are owned by the organization’s Master Gardeners, and the other two are community gardens.

“The two public gardens are maintained, and in some cases, designed by Master Gardeners,” said Terri Andrews, Hall County Master Gardeners co-chair. “So [visitors] get a taste of what the Master Gardeners do outside of their own backyards in addition to the four private gardens, where that's exclusively the creations of the Master Gardeners.”

The gardens are spread across Gainesville, with two Master Gardens in the northern part of the city, two Master Gardens in the middle of Gainesville in addition to the public Lovett literacy garden and then the public Cresswind community garden to the south. The tours are self-guided, and garden walkers can start at any garden they wish to.

“You can go to any or all of the gardens in any order that you like, which is convenient for people who live in North Hall or South Hall,” Andrews said. “They don't have to go in one route. They can do however they like, maybe take a break for lunch.”

Thanks to the new Hall County Master Gardeners technological committee, this year’s Garden Walk will have a new educational feature.

“The first time this year, we are using QR codes in the garden, which will allow visitors to get more information about specific plants within the garden,” Andrews said.

These QR codes will enhance visitors’ experience as they stroll through the six gardens. Garden walkers will also be able to speak with the Master Gardeners and ask questions. Master Gardeners will even give out free samples from their own gardens.

“We take plants out of our own landscapes, and we pot them up and label them,” Andrews said. “And then we bring them to this one home, so that [visitors] are able to to take a plant home for free as they're on their way out of viewing that lovely garden.”

All six gardens have a wide variety of sizes, topography and wildlife. This lets visitors see several different ways to lay out a garden, and will give them ideas on how to recreate their backyards.

“We have one garden that’s at the top of a hill,” said Irene Michaud, another Hall County Master Gardener co-chair. “And so if you have hilly property, you can go to that garden and the host will be happy to tell you about how she's dealt with that issue over the years.”

If someone wants to become a Master Gardener, one can take Hall County Master Gardener classes twice a week for three months. Each meeting has a guest speaker who is an expert on horticulture. Then Master Gardeners are given the opportunity to nominate their garden to be featured in the Garden Walk.

“We ask members about a year and a half in advance if they would consider being on the Garden Walk,” Michaud said. “And if they do, the three co-chairs go out and they take a look at the gardener's criteria, in terms of parking, ability to the gardens and variety of gardens.”

Andrews’ garden was featured as a Master Garden in 2017. She said that this was an invaluable experience for her, and it motivated her to continue improving her yard.

“It was the best day ever,” Andrews said. “I was just so happy to have done it because it got me to do things that I had been procrastinating. And [I was] wanting to get it to look the best it could possibly look.”

The Garden Walk’s theme this year is called “In Our Own Backyards,” so visitors are inspired and encouraged to keep digging and planting.

“I would hope that they come away from seeing these gardens and say, ‘Wow, I learned something! And maybe I can incorporate some of these ideas into my own landscape,’” Andrews said.

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: gardening, Hall County Master Gardeners, Garden Walk, nature
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