Yes, it’s true. I write this blog from Knoxville, Tennessee — home of the Dogwood Arts Festival. So, of course, I’m biased. But if you’re ever in Knoxville at festival time, you’ll agree with me: Spring shows off its finery nowhere better during this puttin’-on-the-pastels time of year!
Several years ago, my husband and I lived in Deane Hill subdivision (designated an official Dogwood Arts Festival Garden Byway). We had passed by the home of J. D. “Bud” and Carolyn Mynatt often but never stopped in to see their Open Garden during festival time. This year, however, we put it on our don’t-miss list and entered a beautiful secret backyard haven that the Mynatts have tended for more 34 years!
We sauntered past the white mounds of candytuft (Iberis sempervirens) lining front flower beds along with the statuary and mixed pots Carolyn has added. Then we headed to the back yard.
When Bud saw us, he came down the back steps as the Southern gentleman he is to welcome us to his private garden. We shook hands, introduced ourselves, and then asked him to take us on a tour — which he did willingly. He told us that he has recently turned 90, but he still maintains the garden.
However, he said, I did have to hire someone to spread 15 yards of mulch this year. (No apologies needed here. We can’t spread mulch at all!)
Bud and Carolyn bought the house and the overgrown lot with only five maples and a magnolia on the property in 1976 and began the work of clearing, planting, pruning, and showcasing. Bud mostly does the gardening and maintenance. Carolyn is the design lady!
We admired the dogwoods just eeking out those creamy blooms . . .
and the Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) climbing gracefully over the deck at the rear of the house.
Bud was proud of this colorful pink Chinese fringe (Loropetalum chinense) . . .
and the profusion of blooms on the endless clumps of Lenten roses (Helleborus orientalis).
Well-fed koi swam innocently around and around the lower levels of the bubbling pond, but we noticed a wire mesh covering over all. Bud sadly explained: I had to cover the pond with wire ’cause big Blue Herons were swooping down and snatching my fish. (Guess herons can’t resist free food any more than humans can!)
The backyard showstopper for us was this Southern magnolia towering over the two men. That tree was probably planted about fifty years ago, Bud told us. And it’s one of the few remaining plants we found when we bought the place. (I’m no expert, but this looks like a prize-winner.)
Click here for more information on Knoxville’s Dogwood Arts Festival.
Click here for a listing of Open Gardens available for viewing until april 28th.
2013 Dogwood Arts Festival
602 S. Gay Street, Mezzanine Level
Knoxville, TN 37902