Sunday, October 19, 2008

2008 Fall Hilltop tour

Today I worked as a docent for Hilltop's Fall Garden Tours, which basically means I sit @ a table and take tickets and try to answer questions. The good part is usually that I get to tour all the gardens plus I get volunteer hours that count towards keeping my Master Gardener certification.

Today was especially great because I was working @ the garden of my friends Susan & Dody. I got to see the amazing things Susan has accomplished since I last saw the garden about 6 months ago, and I got to sit and catch up w/ Dody who just returned from a 2 month internship @ the National Zoo in Washington D.C.

Susan is a landscape architect whom I met because she was in grad school @ LSU with my next-door neighbor (neighborman's mom). Dody is in vet school @ LSU. They are two of the coolest people ever. Before they came to Baton Rouge, they owned a plant nursery in Lafayette. They both know and love plants, and they also both know and love dogs and other animals so they are "our kind of people".

They have taken a cute little cottage in SouthDowns and turned it into a garden paradise. Susan has worked for three years to make this garden from reused, reusable, and sustainable materials. All of the pavers, borders, the waterfall, and the fire-pit are made from chunks of the concrete that came from the driveway they busted up in order to use permeable surfacing for the drive. She put in a "rain-garden" drainage system which captures rainfall and diverts it into the pond and a retaining area and underground pipes divert the water throughout the yard so it never needs watering. So technical - way beyond my landscape knowledge - but the result is a beautiful and comfortable garden.

Another house on the tour was the home and garden of Leah Simon, who owns Tsunami restaurant @ the top of the Shaw Center. Who even KNEW there could be a house like this in Baton Rouge? It looks like something from a cool 60's movie.

Yet another garden on the tour featured a great tea-house and sugar kettle fountain. This was another really comfortable and well-thought-out garden.

The weather was perfect, the gardens were beautiful and inspiring. The turn-out for the tours was awesome - about 120 people came through Susan & Dody's garden just between 3 and 5 (the tours are from 1-5). @ $20 a ticket, I'd say it was a good day for Hilltop!

Many more pics from the tour plus a few treats from my own garden posted to Picasa (link on the right).

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