Through the garden gate

Through the garden gate

May 29th, 2015 by Susan Pierce in Life Entertainment

Gallery: Drucker garden

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Tour stops

* Evelyn Davenport Navarre Teaching and Enabling Garden, Chattanooga Area Food Bank, 2009 Curtain Pole Road --The teaching garden's beds provide more than 2,000 pounds of produce annually to the food bank's Emergency Box Program. Its design shows how to make the most of growing in smaller, urban spaces. The garden is maintained primarily by volunteers.

* Scott and Olga Drucker, 4403 Tennessee Ave., St. Elmo -- This yard is divided into a small cottage garden in front and two, larger shaded gardens in back. It is filled with heirloom roses, camellias, hydrangeas, perennials and other plants that complement the century-old home.

* Mark DeWitt and Cathleen MacDonald, 8900 Winding Bluff Lane, Soddy-Daisy -- This Spanish-style home sits on a bluff with spectacular views, surrounded by natural rock formations and a variety of evergreens.

* Don and Leslie Nelson, 1103 Bunker Ridge Trail, Soddy-Daisy -- A cottage garden, 5-acre pond, vegetable garden and sunny flowers beds present a variety of gardening ideas in sun or shade.

* Fred and Bev Przybylinski, 100 Eveningside Drive, Ferger Place -- The Przybylinskis enjoy planting a range of plants in beds and antique planters in this urban garden located in Ferger Place just off Main Street.

If you go

* What: Chattanooga Area Food Bank 28th Annual Spring Garden Tour

* When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday; 1-6 p.m. Sunday

* Where: Five locations from St. Elmo to Soddy-Daisy

* Tickets: $20, sold at each tour stop, cash or check only

* Information: chattfoodbank.org; the garden addresses have links to a map.

When Scott and Olga Drucker bought a century-old home sitting on one-third of an acre in St. Elmo, they immediately started making over the yard. It was a match made in heaven: A charming historic home purchased by a landscaper who advocates using heirloom plants, bushes and trees.

And when Scott Drucker says "we have thousands of plantings in the yard," he's not exaggerating. The couple has divided their land into three garden spaces that showcase growing in shade, full sun and partial sun. Each section has layers upon layers of greenery that lead the eyes upward from ground covers to flowering bushes to climbing vines on up to a 50-foot-tall pear tree.

The Druckers will throw open their garden's gates to visitors Saturday and Sunday, the first time in the 10 years they have lived here that the Druckers, owners of Dream Gardens Landscape Design Co., have done so. Their home is one of five stops on the 28th Annual Spring Garden Tour that will benefit the Chattanooga Area Food Bank.

"Money raised through the annual garden tour is used to support our Garden and Nutrition Program," says Jessica Sullivan, special events and communications manager for the food bank. "In the past few years, we've really put a focus on promoting better nutrition in our area."

She adds that the Garden and Nutrition Program also shows food bank clients how to make healthy choices through classes, food demonstrations, recipe and nutrition cards.

Sullivan says homes on the garden tour are chosen from suggestions by Hamilton County Master Gardeners and food bank gardeners as well as homeowners who call to volunteer their sites.

The Drucker's long, rectangular lot is one city block deep, but only 50 feet in width. With the house's close proximity to Tennessee Avenue, the small front yard has been turned into an English garden with heirloom roses climbing picket fences and trailing the roof lines. Heirloom flowers or vegetables are cultivars, usually 100 years old or more, still maintained by gardeners today.

The postage-stamp front yard is mulched by design, says Scott, so there is no mowing.

"I'd rather maintain plants than grass," he says.

Visitors will follow the mulched trails through several hundred varieties of plants that range from Mexican Evening Primrose, a ground cover bordering the street sidewalk, to Oakleaf and Annabelle hydrangeas, salvia, roses in both bush and climbing forms and hostas.

Scott says the stately 100-year-old oak tree and a 50-foot pear tree are the only things remaining in the back that were original to the home when they bought it. He has planted more than 1,000 plants, grasses, shrubs and trees in the two back gardens.

"The back yard is divided into two sections filled to the gills and has been designed to look wild," describes Scott. "I would call the back 'Impressionistic' with lots of planters, raised beds, lots of color and food for birds. Right now the hydrangea are blooming and the Oakleaf hydrangeas are spectacular."

Contact Susan Pierce at spierce@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6284.


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