Beautiful botanicals and the arts blend in 'Art in the Garden'


Jimmy and Ginger Carver of Starkville prepare to welcome visitors Saturday to their garden for Art in the Garden, sponsored by the Starkville Area Arts Council. The Carver’s garden is one of six on tour. Each location will also feature visual and performing artists.

Jimmy and Ginger Carver of Starkville prepare to welcome visitors Saturday to their garden for Art in the Garden, sponsored by the Starkville Area Arts Council. The Carver’s garden is one of six on tour. Each location will also feature visual and performing artists.
Photo by: Rachel Welborn/Courtesy photo



Emily Jones/Special to The Dispatch



If gardening is your passion, or if you just want to spend a leisurely morning listening to good music or watching an artisan at work, the Starkville Area Arts Council (SAAC) suggests Art in the Garden Saturday, May 19.  


This celebration of the senses, with fine paintings, casual crafting, dancing and live music, will be showcased against a backdrop of lush, colorful gardens during the sixth annual garden tours. 


Five home gardens and one corporate garden are open for tours from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. In case of rain, the event will be moved to Sunday, May 20, from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.  


Master gardeners will be at each site to answer questions and help visitors identify plants. 


"We find that each garden reflects the homeowners' creativity and style through the use of garden art and hard features, in addition to a variety of plant material," said Hellen Polk, a member of the steering committee and president of the Oktoc Garden Club.  


"We're very excited to have a corporate garden this year, with the addition of the Hilton Garden Inn, which has generously offered to provide breakfast free to ticket holders beginning at 8 a.m. on the day of the tour," said Polk.  


Patrons are encouraged to meet at the Hilton for breakfast and perhaps carpool to the gardens, which can be viewed in any order. 




On tour  


Jimmy and Ginger Carver's garden at 309 Green St. in Starkville features a comfortable outdoor living room under a wisteria-covered pergola; a garden shed reminiscent of an early 20th century general store; and six separate water features. Perhaps the most unique fountain incorporates the hose reel first used by the Starkville Fire Department in 1900.  


The cottage-style garden is filled with many "hand me down" plants.  


Oktibbeha County Master Gardeners will host while artist Linda Sanders paints scenes from the garden. Musical entertainment will be by Richard Brown and Ed Swan.  


Wood carver Duane Lyon and furniture painter Diana Lyon will demonstrate their crafts. Clover Leaf Garden Club will provide refreshments. 




Country living 


At Gary Bradshaw and Stephanie Doane's home at 976 W. Briar Lake Dr., the couple was determined to work with nature when they converted a pasture to a lush garden at their new home in the Wild Briar Subdivision off Sessums Road. 


The garden is unique among the more traditional suburban gardens because the couple raises chickens on their property. 


"They not only eat bugs, but they provide fertilizer for the garden and a steady supply of fresh eggs. We also enjoy watching their antics," said Stephanie Doane. 


This garden will require a short trip to the countryside but will be well worth the drive. M'Lady Garden Club hosts. Watch mosaic craftsman Cindy Villavaso and artist Fay Fisher at work. Musical entertainment will be provided by Matthew Page, and the Sportsplex Line Dancers will perform. 




From scratch 


Like many who moved into the Starkville-Mississippi State community during the 1970s, Nancy and Guy Hargrove at 115 Grand Ridge Road bought a brand new home in the newly-developing Timbercove Subdivision.  


The garden was a blank palette and continues to evolve as the couple's interest in gardening has increased. They have installed walkways, a pergola, a tree house for their grandchildren and a flowing waterfall. 


Oktoc Garden Club will host, and Alice Shands will paint garden scenes. Linda McDaniel will demonstrate rug hooking; Amy Burton will perform interpretive dance. Guy Hargrove, who celebrates his 80th birthday May 19, will perform a medley of old favorites.  


Amy Burton, Debra Wolf and Michael Shelton of the Starkville Writers' Group will read from their compositions. 






P.O. "Mac" and Barbara McLaurin at 505 Lincoln Green St. moved into their Sherwood Forrest home in 1992 and set about creating an eye-popping garden. Barbara, a master gardener, has established an herb and vegetables "kitchen garden" at her side entrance. There, she can also satisfy her love of whimsical garden art which doesn't interest her husband.  


An element of surprise greets visitors in the back yard, where Barbara constructed a wall of mirrors behind an arbor, visually expanding the garden 


Town and Country Garden Club hosts; Vicki Barnett will paint garden scenes. Dylan Karges will demonstrate pottery carving. Musical entertainment will be by Daniel Jones and Stephanie Jackson. 




Being sociable 


Don and Danya O'Bannon's garden at 623 S. Wedgewood Road has seen a lot of living since 1991 when they built their home. They continually tweak the landscape to facilitate their fondness for entertaining. 


Outdoor living takes place in the back garden's sprawling gazebo, flanked by two stone patios connected by meandering walkways. A dry creek is both functional and adds to the texture of the garden.  


Green Thumb Garden Club hosts, and artist Kathryn Ramsey will paint while Mark Hatch performs on trumpet. Cynthia Williams, owner/instructor at Dance Divine Ballet Co., and three of her students, Hetty Layton, Sarah Easley and Victoria Sanders, will perform at all gardens.  




How to go 


Tickets are $15 (includes breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn Saturday), available in advance at the SAAC office inside the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, 200 E. Main St., Starkville, and East Mississippi Lumber Company in Starkville. Or purchase tickets Saturday at the Hilton Garden Inn, 975 Highway 12 East, from 8 a.m. until noon.  


For more information, contact the SAAC, 662-324-3080.



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