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By Ann Jochens, Maureen Reap and Peggy Calliham

Photography by Susan Massey

The 3rd Annual Garden Tour, Beyond the Garden Gate, will be held Saturday, October 24, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

This year’s line-up will offer four diverse home gardens and the Demonstration Idea Garden, known as The DIG.

The DIG

Located at 2619 Hwy. 21 West, Bryan, The DIG was developed by local Master Gardeners in June 1998 with 14 raised beds containing perennials, annuals, herbs, vines, and vegetables. Today, The DIG has expanded in size and variety with several dedicated gardens demonstrating the benefit of integrating all the elements in a healthy landscape. It is completely maintained by Brazos County Master Gardeners.

A fun-filled and educational addition to this year’s DIG tour is planned to attract families with young children. The DIG site will offer a pollinator hunt with prizes from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Then from 12 noon to 1 p.m. Chef Tai, owner of Veritas Wine & Bistro, Paolo’s Italian Kitchen, and his famous Mobile Gourmet Bistro and Catering, will hold a demonstration of garden cooking. A local beekeeping demonstration will be presented from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., followed by door prize announcements at 3 p.m.

Wildlife Habitat and Garden

This 5.5-acre property, located at 10100 White’s Creek Rd., College Station, is certified as a Wildlife Habitat (National Wildlife Federation); a Texas Wildscape and Best of Texas Backyard Habitat (Texas Parks and Wildlife); and as a Butterfly Garden (North American Butterfly Association). The homeowner has augmented the natural setting with native Texas plant species selected to entice and sustain local and transient wildlife with food, water, and shelter. This quiet, peaceful garden brings nature right up to the porches surrounding the log house nestled in the oak forest. Rainwater diversion and capture systems both drain and irrigate the garden. Composting is a passion of the homeowner. Learn both how-to, and how-NOT-to, in this die-hard composter’s garden.

Garden of Easing

The Garden of Easing, located at 11737 Durrand St., College Station, provides an inviting setting for relaxation, contemplation, and entertainment. The owners designed a long-term functional structure for the garden that protects the large post oaks, elms and other trees, shrubs, and vines on the property. Proper drainage of water is imperative. The lawn was reduced to a minimum to lower irrigation requirements while providing a drainage swale that directs water from front to back. Custom drains are installed to remove pockets of sitting water, preventing loss of mature trees, and avoiding mosquitos and other pests. The front features the swale surrounded by natural plantings, color, and wild flowers. Seasonal splashes of color are provided by annuals in the ground and in decorative containers. To avoid mud trails and increase the backyard entertainment area, a circular concrete paver patio is extended with connecting, flowing cobble. Special features of the back garden include bird attractions, a natural walking path with benches placed in contemplative settings, and an ample area for cooking and eating, supplied by a stone fireplace and grill.

The Rescue Garden of Hidden Dimensions

The Rescue Garden of Hidden Dimensions, located at 3927 Hawk Owl Cove, College Station, demonstrates the infinite dimensions possible in a small garden created from discounted plants lovingly resuscitated by the gardener. Hundreds of different plants grow in a riotous beauty that brings joy to the beholder. Plants can be seen at many vertical levels. White stones frame the raised beds. Decks at three levels provide a diversity of viewing opportunities. Tall vertical structures, such as hand-made Greek-style pillars, complement the variety of heights of the surrounding plants. Water features and soft night lighting are embedded into garden environments. With careful nurturing in winter, the gardener has successfully grown an abundance of subtropical and potted tropical plants, rewarding visitors with a splash of leaf and flower colors and textures through most of the year.

Sanctuary Rose Garden

Taking inspiration from Europe and Savannah, the homeowner of this garden, located at 4605 Oakmont Circle, College Station, has designed a tranquil, rose-filled, walled sanctuary, using classical elements of symmetry, structure, and stone. A six-foot statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel surmounts the Italianate fountain at center stage. Two iron trellises supporting climbing roses flank the statue and mimic nearby mimosa trees. Stone-edged and hedged quadrants radiate from the fountain, and comfortable seating encourages quiet contemplation of the garden while water trickles into the basin. Brick and gravel paths lead past the statue to roses and clematis climbing the fences. A compact vegetable garden is tucked next to the rain capture system that waters the yard by means of drip irrigation.

Ticket Information

Advanced tickets may be purchased between September 1 and October 22. Ticket sales are available online at www.brazosmg.com, at Brazos Natural Foods, 4303 S. Texas at Rosemary, Bryan, or at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office located at 2619 Hwy. 21 W, Bryan. Tickets are $15 for adult admittance to all gardens. Tickets for “The DIG” only are $5 and there is no charge for children under 12 years of age with ticketed adult. Tickets purchased at the Extension Office or on-site at any garden on October 24 must be paid by cash or check.