NOTE: The tour has been cancelled. A new date will be announced later.
The hidden beauty of five backyard landscapes in one of the city's most scenic neighborhoods will be revealed during tours this weekend.
Dubbed "The Secret Gardens of Missionary Ridge," the tours are sponsored by the Missionary Ridge Neighborhood Association.
"It is called the Secret Gardens tour because as one drives past these homes, there is no hint of what treasures from nature's bounty are at the end of the driveway," said Janet Bean, chairman of the association's beautification committee.
In addition to the scenic vistas, she said, "each site has something unique that has been added to enhance the experience." These bonuses include music, art by students from Center for Creative Arts and local performer Dana Rogers, as well as homemade lemonade to enjoy while taking in the views.
Hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, 1-4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets and restrooms are available at the MRNA Fire Hall, 150 S. Crest Road. Cost is $15 (cash only).
Chattanooga Florist, Humphrey's Flowers, Gannon Art Center and Sugar's Ribs have provided door prizes.
For more information, visit www.missionaryridge.org.
Janet Bean of the Missionary Ridge Neighborhood Association provides the following descriptions of gardens on the tour (sorted by distance from the fire hall).
* 3119 Colyar Drive (0.9 mile): These serene gardens, featuring thousands of perennials and annuals in five distinct spaces, are designed to coordinate with the home's Asian architecture. Ponds, Japanese sculpture, fountains and gazebos add structure.
Bonus: To set off the Asian influences, owner William Simpson will have Japanese music playing through his gardens.
* 54 N. Crest Road (1 mile): Maurice Layne's landscaping makes use of triple terraces that feature a tropical pool, koi pond and a 25-year-old Japanese maple.
Bonus: A guitarist and a keyboardist will play by the pool "to add to the resort feel."
* 76 N. Crest Road (1.1 miles): Wallace Olson's 1.2-acre sloping lot includes an 800-pound Gothic gargoyle, a magnificent fountain, gazebo and more than 1,500 neatly trimmed boxwoods and topiaries.
Bonus: "His site will have a harpist and a string quartet to play for the visitors [on Saturday]." On Sunday, local performer Dana Rogers will serenade visitors.
* 404 S. Crest Road (1.1 miles): Donnie Hutcherson's spacious and meticulously tended garden has become a sentimental tribute to the many family members and friends who have contributed roses, irises, bamboo and grasses. Note the side patio for al fresco dining and the garage patio for vista viewing.
Bonus: Artists will showcase the beauty of this "picture-perfect garden ... by transferring it to their sketch pads."
* 460 N. Crest Road (2.6 miles): This newly landscaped garden of cacti and succulents was designed to complement the Mediterranean architecture of the home. A stone patio overlooking the lower lawn offers a front-row seat for sunsets.
Bonus: "Visitors will be encouraged to linger and drink in the view while sipping on refreshing, homemade lemonade."