Sorry you missed the Annual Secret Gardens of the Emerald Coast Garden Tour. Mark your calendar for next year’s tour May 19-20, 2018.
Highlights of The Secret Garden Tour 2017
This past May, The Secret Gardens Tour Committee selected six unique and beautiful private residential gardens, selected for their creativity, use of native plants, stunning garden features and interesting horticulture specimens.
Garden #1 covers over 20 acres, and uses salvaged Pensacola memorabilia in the design. Mature overhanging oaks reminiscent of an old southern plantation flank the driveway entrance. Visitors could stop by the raised vegetable garden framed by old concrete Pensacola street signsand peek into the whimsically decorated potting shed, working barn and greenhouse stocked with bromeliads and roofed with antique salvaged windows. An old church cross backs a private pet cemetery with an engraved arch. Two enormous church steeples, old brick pillars and a set of red brick stairs housing potted succulents create flow to help visitors navigate the property. An observation platform overlooks a tranquil pond that attracts ducks and a low-lying cypress swamp. Plein Air artists were on hand painting in this unique style.
Garden #2 is maintained as a Naturalist garden. It boasts a koi pond with flowing waterfall and a greenhouse on site. Rocking chairs and bench offer resting spots around the pond. Several fruit trees, such as Ruby Red grapefruit, Naval orange, Key Lime and Myer Lemon adorn the landscape. Escambia County Master Gardeners were on hand in the garden to help identify the abundant horticulture.
Garden #3 is a residential garden resplendent with exhibition roses in raised beds, where participants can interact with Rose Society members offered demonstrations on proper rose care. Rose Society members had roses for sale. This stunning display of roses is a delight for all the senses. Over 12 expansive raised beds hold over 200 roses in every type and color.
Garden #4 can be found in a well-established neighborhood off of Scenic Highway. A large circular driveway holds a stunning and prominent water fountain. The back garden is expertly landscaped with a tremendous variety of horticulture.
Garden #5 – This garden, found south of Cervantes, features labeled Native plants that are best suited for the Pensacola climate. Plants include pollinators and butterfly attractors and are chosen for drought tolerance and low maintenance. The milkweed garden will be a caterpillar heaven. Replacement turf, such as perennial peanut, is used in place of turf grasses. Native palmettos, varied rosemary shrubs, and a rare pink Titi tree frame the walkway and offer privacy to the homeowners. Redbuds and a gorgeous Japanese maple are statement specimens. A beautiful travertine walkway leads to the backyard pool and pool house where scattered pots hold kitchen herbs. Members from the Native Plant Society were on hand to answer questions, provide handouts and offer membership.
Garden # 6 – A gorgeous estate home circa 1937 boasts a completely renovated garden. Situated on Bayou Texar waterfront, it is just minutes from Pensacola Bay. Multiple stairway access and landings offers shade and plenty of spots to sit and rest or to just enjoy the water view. The gentle slope of the property is covered with aromatic jasmine and several fragrant sweet olive trees. A beautiful waterfall feature tumbles into a small pond. Flanking the pond is a rock staircase, providing one way to ascend back up the slope to the main house. Mature olive trees, saucer sized leopard plants, and native Oak leaf hydrangeas offer interest. An observation tower with spiral staircase allows those willing to climb a panoramic view of the bay. Brick outdoor fireplace, tranquil pool and pool house, boat dock with lift and kayak hut add functionality to the sophisticated setting.