Athena Delphian garden walk May 6
By Jimmy Williams
Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 8:00 pm
The late Dalton and Nettie Hedges purchased a nice frame bungalow at 311 Head St. in Henry County in 1963. The house had been built in 1919 when the Head addition (thus Head Street) was new and popular. The Hedges planned well, since their boys, Joe and Gaines, would attend Atkins-Porter and Grove schools, and their home was just about half way between them.
After Dalton Hedges’ death, Nettie Hedges urged the boys to keep the house, and when Gaines Hedges and and wife Becky moved back into the familial residence years later, they appreciated the wisdom of his mother.
“There was no garden here when we moved back,” Gaines Hedges related. “Just a couple of decrepit fruit trees in the back yard. We took them out and there it was, a bare palette on which to work.”
The resulting garden is one of three to be featured on the Athena Delphian Club’s garden walk from 3-5:30 p.m. May 6 in Henry County. The other two are at the home of Pat and Rachel Terrell at 317 Walnut St. and Jimmy and Peggy Williams at 1315 East Blythe St.
Gaines and Becky Hedges began creating the garden some 10 years ago. The old reliable method of laying out beds guided by a water hose proved beneficial. Shapes were created with the hose, with curving beds and a path.
In the ensuing years, the mark of a true plantsman (and woman) emerged, as grassy areas shrank to make way for more ornamentals.
Shrubs, small trees and herbaceous plants were crammed cheek to jowl. A jungle, albeit a beautiful one, was the result.
Smack in the center of the back garden is a large specimen of the hardy banana tree, Musa basjoo. This is the only banana winter hardy here and, though it won’t produce fruit in our less than tropical summers, the luxuriant foliage is worth a lot. You will want one after you see theirs.
Between the Hedges’ driveway and the one next door is a clump of bamboo started from a few stems they got from Rick Conger that is, fortunately, trapped there and unable to invade other areas. Some of the older stems are 15 feet tall or more.
Many of the hostas in shade areas were gifts from Vicky Hunt and the late Randy Bucy. Conger also contributed several ornamental grasses.
The front garden changes little but annuals are rotated every year to give a different look. A large specimen American holly there was stripped a year ago by a falling tree in a windstorm. One side of the gorgeous plant was torn away. Gaines and some helpers hat-racked it severely and now it is recovering.
Meanwhile, a whole new microclimate was created and the resulting open area allows for sun annuals (i.e. zinnias) to flourish where before they would not.
A shady garden path on the west side of the house was made from pieces of the original sidewalk in front of the house when a new one went in some time ago. A recent renovation there is a work in progress, with hostas and other shade plants replacing a stubborn sweep of ivy that threatened to take over.
Gaines said the activity he enjoys most is dividing and moving plants to create different vistas and effects. They are ardent Facebook fans and post plants to give away from time to time.
During the tour hours, Becky Hedges’ brother, Scott Myatt, an accomplished vocalist and guitarist, will provide live music at the Hedges’ garden.
Proceeds from the walk will benefit the Athena Delphian Club’s numerous charity efforts, including scholarships to deserving students. Priced at $15 for all three gardens, tickets are available from Jack Jones Flowers, The Iron Place, Maggie’s, Wofford’s Nursery and Rolling Hills Nursery in Murray, Ky., or from any club member. Tickets also will be available at the gardens.
Refreshments will be served and favorite plants of the gardeners will be for sale.
Editor’s note: Jimmy Williams is production superintendent at The Paris Post-Intelligencer, where he also writes this column.
Published in The Messenger 4.17.12