Eight gardens — from a small city garden designed for entertaining to a sixth-generation organic family farm — will be open for the Garden Club of Danville spring tour, Welcome to Our Gardens.
Cindy and Ray Hammond, 421 East Main Street: The plant-filled garden of this 1904 Queen Anne cottage in downtown Danville is designed for entertaining, with a screened porch, decks, patios, arbors and an outdoor fireplace, which is the heart of the garden. An old cast-iron bell from a family farm in Livingston County hangs from the arbor.
Bill and Lisa Grimes, 114 Autumn Court: This garden was developed seven years ago. It flows from the screened porch on the back of the 1980s English Cottage-style house into a series of garden rooms. Those near the house are more formal than those farther away. Many of the plants are well-loved family heirlooms or starts from friends' gardens. The highlight of the garden is the patio, with its Italianate fountain just off the porch.
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Chris Kubale, 2826 Lexington Road: This farm on the edge of Danville has been in the family since 1893, when the owner's grandfather, T. B. Bright, raised mules, bluegrass seed, cattle and tobacco. Now sheep graze the pastures and a certified organic vegetable garden thrives. The house and farmstead, including several barns and outbuildings, are on the National Register of Historic Places. Be sure to see the peonies, which are more than 100 years old.
George and Bennie Thompson, 649 Grabruck Street: A garden designer drew the original plans when the Cape Cod house was built in 1993. They have included favorite plants: boxwoods, azaleas and hostas, with paths made of brick or stone. Iron fences define "rooms" in the garden, providing a variety of sitting areas.
Alice and Stoney Biggers, 2302 Bluegrass Pike: Fields and pastures surround this Greek Revival home and its two acres of gardens. The house was built in the 1840s but the garden is new with flower and vegetable beds, hedges and a monarch butterfly way station planted last June. The spring garden features hellebores, celandine poppies, ajuga, hyacinth, astilbe and hosta.
Cynthia and Vaughn Frey, 151 Colonial Way: An arbor provides a dramatic entrance to this garden focused on the large Italianate fountain in the center of the lawn. The garden is casual, with spots of formality and a spectacular view of the fields behind the house, where they often see wildlife.
Lowery and Kay Anderson, 71 Mapletree Place: The owners of this property freely admit that they are not gardeners. They credit their beautiful landscape to Gary Chidester and a crew from Custom Creation Landscaping. Behind the traditional home built in 2002, they have gradually developed an entertainment paradise, with putting green, swimming pool, Italian-style fountain, fire pit and outdoor kitchen.
Mike and JoAnn Hamm, 1086 W. Secretariat Drive: Bees, butterflies and other wildlife are the focus of this garden, a certified monarch way station. A section of the vegetable garden is even set aside for plants that rabbits love. Over 24 years, the owners have planted many trees, made a large raised vegetable garden, added fountains and wind sculptures front and back, and installed a landscaped fish pond with two waterfalls.