Secret Garden Tour

2016 Secret Garden Tour
For your review:

Secret Garden A

Tammi Wilkens FountainThis gardener calls her garden the “Happiness Garden” with inspiration derived from bright pretty colors and ample sunshine. You will be impressed how she effectively incorporates many different perennials and annuals with three-season blooming and four-season enjoyment. Peonies, Japanese Iris, Garden Phlox, Poppies, and Day Lilies welcome guests in the front of this cozy cottage. As you step to the back garden, you see how the raised deck is the perfect place for outdoor family dining. Yohsino Cheery Trees (like the ones found in Washington D.C.) Hibiscus, Columbine, Tea Roses, Lantanas, Geraniums, Black-eyed Susans, and Daylilies bring Summer-long color and rich fragrances attracting honeybees and hummingbirds to the entire secret garden. Tammi Wilkens StatueThe pergola is beautifully trellised with a Mandevilla vine. It is easy to imagine yourself reading a good book while soothed by tranquil sounds from the fountain. A gas fire pit is perfect for any night when the family gets together!



Secret Garden B

This gardener beams brightly decribing how his Grandmother enjoyed Southern Magnolias and how in their garden they nurtured one from a seedling.  Yews and IMG_0714Hostas perfectly highlight this great mid-century modern split-level home.  Containers of mixed annuals line the garage wall.  A tall shadow box fence teases passers enabling only glimpses of the secret garden within.  A Roman-Style statue named “Janet,” after its original owner, beckons one and all beyond the gate and into the secret garden.  See how these gardeners effectively incorporate outdoor entertaining on three levels including grilling/dining, outdoor bar, and swimming areas.  When IMG_0716planning the back area, these gardeners envisioned a custom kidney shaped pool.  They gave clear instructions to the builders that they must accommodate the existing Holly Trees and ensure the pool, hardscapes, and landscapes all naturally complimented each other.  Sugar Maples, Banana Trees, Azaleas, Hibiscus, Pampas Grasses, and potted Wave Petunias complete this oasis!

Secret Garden C

It is very hard to imagine this garden began in 1974 with a bare landscape and only one tree.  Each year thereafter, this experienced gardener and traveler creatively designed herself this one-of-a-kind garden of gardens taking inspiration from Henry Shaw’s Missouri IMG_0619Botanical Garden.  A majestic Olympic Oak firmly grounds the front garden and one will be impressed to learn this gardener started this rare oak from seed.  Artistically placed berms add vertical dimension as well as structure to an expansive list of rare sun and shade loving specialties from around the world.  The shade garden includes a Norwegian Spruce, Gingko, Paper Bark Birch, Red Bud, and Japanese Pines, which protect the understory of Cornus mas, Chinese Witch Hazel, and Japanese Maples and a rare Dwarf Conifer collection.
An heirloom Clematis welcomes you through the garden arbor where the pebble path winds in-and-around Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Star Magnolias, Lenten Rose, Solomon Seal, Bishop’s Hat, Coral Bells, and over 360 different Hosta varieties.  Nearly 30 years before they became popular, this pioneer gardener created a rain garden and goldfish pond beautifully ringed with different perennial varieties blooming all season long.  Your experience continues as you marvel at 256 different varieties of prize Day Lilies.  IMG_0616Take note from how well this private sun garden is accented by both sculptured and miniature ornamental evergreens.  Then around the corner, find the secret garden within and take a moment to rest in the shade and reflect on how well this gardener fully embraces Mother Nature’s abundant beauty.

Secret Garden D

IMG_0783A winding street leads to this lovely modern two-story colonial which sits prominently on the hilltop at the end of the cul-de-sac. Take a moment to enjoy the front porch that overlooks the entire neighborhood, golf course fairway, and creek. Hybrid Lenten Roses with unique daisy-like petals and variegated Hostas circle the giant Oak. Peonies, Azaleas, Geraniums, Coral Bells, hanging floral baskets, and a distinctive Chinese Red front door all welcome visitors.

IMG_0577Giant Hostas guide your path to the back garden. A quaint organic herb bed and raised vegetable garden are just steps away from the kitchen and are always ready to contribute that special zest for these two gourmet chefs. Note the unique garden statues as they are creatively intermixed throughout the English-style flower gardens.IMG_0775 A large veranda and pool offer comfortable space for great exercise as well as dinner parties with family and friends. Pay particular attention to the most charming retaining wall that looks like it was plucked from an English country estate.
One might easily imagine Charles Dickens’ kindhearted character, Fezziwig, sitting here during the many social gatherings, and stating to all the importance of, “Preserving a way of life that one knew and loved!”

Secret Garden E


Tall Century Oaks, Tulip Poplars, White Magnolias, and Norwegian Spruce surround this impressive circa 1929 Federal Style Southern Colonial brick home with its stately white pillars, large floor-to-ceiling windows and oversized shutters. The home’s exterior architecture is magnificent and a must see! In many ways this home and garden feel like they were plucked from Colonial Williamsburg. Guests will note the front door is actually on the side of this home with brick pathways, wrought iron work, and includes an old-fashioned wellhead. IMG_0692A tall brick wall, with multiple serpentine curves, was designed by the original lady of the home after visiting the University of Virginia. This unique wall has been benchmarked by numerous landscape architects and was then made taller by the lady to preclude her neighbors viewing. Oversized Boxwood provide even more privacy! As you enter the garden, a unique Magnolia with its low curving branches is the strategic spot for the gardeners’ young daughter to climb and sit. IMG_0700A four-corner flowerbed is surrounded by the circular drive—perfect for their two young children to ride their bikes and trikes. Weeping Cherries, Day Lilies, and Golden Euonymus add softness to the five-tiered formal fountain. Hostas and a Japanese Maple feel right at home amidst the understory. A generous size white pergola with hanging baskets and tall Pampas Grasses add comfort and privacy to the family pool and vegetable garden areas. It is easy to imagine yourself sharing family stories around the fire pit while roasting marshmallows after fun day swimming.

Secret Garden F

IMG_0646This charming circa 1899 Dutch Colonial home and surrounding eye-catching gardens welcome all passers-by.  The secret to this garden is revealed upon your closer examination.  See how these two gardeners have successfully embraced the challenge of their home being visible to the road on all four sides.  These gardeners state, “Colorful flowers, and making people feel happy as they come into town are our inspiration.  IMG_0639We both love to work together in the garden and doing so brings us much joy.”  A 150-year-old Norwegian Spruce commands attention along with its 75-year-old seedling.  Boston Ferns, Hostas, Peonies, Columbine, Begonias, Impatiens, Coral Bells, and Strawberry Geraniums surround each tree.  A one-of-a-kind customized concrete edging brings cohesion to all the flowerbeds.  Liriope and two tall urns filled with colorful mixed annuals welcome you as you approach the front door.  Imagine yourself sitting on the grand front porch surrounded by Boston Ferns, Roses, Dusty Miller, Marigolds, and more!  IMG_0642A tall fountain is nestled amongst giant Ferns and Coral Bells.  Pansies, Begonias, and mixed Succulents highlight the garden bench.  Hanging baskets of Petunias and Begonias are found throughout.  A classic white picket fence encloses the secret garden with its plush emerald green lawn.  A Japanese Maple and Dogwood provide welcomed perches for humming birds and doves as well as privacy for their outdoor dining area.  The gardeners’ raised vegetable beds are both beautiful and functional.  A friendship walk links the neighbor’s gardens!

Secret Garden G

IMG_0678Giant Hostas and Hollies beautifully embrace this circa 1898 Homestead-style home. “English Cottage Garden is my inspiration,” says this gardener and we all would agree! Garden Phlox and Day Lilies—family treasures from the gardener’s Mom—accent the flagstone and pea gravel pathway. Hanging baskets of Pansies and Petunias are creatively placed in various focal point areas. Multiple sources of water sounds bring tranquility throughout the garden. Asparagus Ferns in tall urns frame the unique rounded front door. IMG_0661New Sugar Maples are quickly filling in and returning shade to the front garden. Around back, the sweet fragrance of the Mock Orange
will lead you to the inner secret garden between the two houses. Note the unique use of space between the house and detached garage. Pause to admire the potting bench, Geranium filled flower boxes, and antique metal treasures. See how the gardener effectively integrated the raised dining deck and pergola to the home’s architecture. If you were to pass by here at night, you would see and enjoy all of the Edison-style lights found in the outdoor chandelier and accent lights throughout adding to the home and garden’s character and charm!!

Secret Garden H

IMG_0675A quaint front porch along with giant Rhododendron, Hostas, Ferns, Azaleas, and Dogwood are the hallmarks of this quaint circa 1870’s Victorian Cottage. This gardener is inspired by English cottage gardens and eclectic accents.  Make sure you see all of the warm touches that are found at every turn of this garden.  Stroll under the garden trellis and wind down the flagstone and pea gravel pathway.  Here you will find a repurposed wheelbarrow holding Salvia, Lantana, Coleus and Geraniums;IMG_0673 (1) a gorgeous weeping Japanese Maple; and a conversation area for two.  Both the front and side areas were at one time well-established shade gardens until a storm and the widening of the front street removed all of its stately trees.  This gardener has done a wonderful job at transforming the area into a sun-loving garden dotted with beautiful summer annuals.  Further down the path a shaded area is a great place to enjoy a glass of lemonade on a hot summers day!

Secret Garden I

A tall Hican tree, a hybrid cross between a Hickory and Mahan Pecan, soars over this historic circa 1897 two story name by it’s original owners, “Orchard Cottage.”  IMG_0839You can easily imagine yourself sitting on the large front porch in the evening, sipping lemonade, and watching the fireflies.  Heirloom Peonies grace the East side and were planted over a century ago!  While both homeowners enjoy the garden, an engraved steppingstone entitled “Grandpa’s Garden” says it all.  IMG_0845The primary gardener of this home gained his inspiration and love for gardening at an early age from his Mom.  While graced with many special plantings, the back garden and lush lawn is an open and fun space for family gatherings.  From the large sun deck, one could imagine watching the grandchildren playing in the Tudor-Style playhouse while the teens toss the football on the lush lawn.  Spectacular Hydrangeas showcase the entire backside of the home.  Bird feeders of various types and sizes bring flocks of Cardinals, Woodpeckers, Finch, and Sparrows to the garden. IMG_0848 A large bed of Beebalm and Oak Hydrangea is a favorite spot for Bumblebees and Hummingbirds alike.  Classic Petunias fill a vintage wringer-washing machine; colorful containers filled with Snapdragons and Lobelia bring that punch of color.  Finally, a Tom Sawyer-style whitewashed picket fence both accents and protects the raised bed vegetable garden.

A Fun Growing Club