Betty Crowther said she constantly gets compliments on her home country's rich history. But she wants others to know that there is a lot of history right here in the Augusta area, and that it's important for them to support efforts to preserve local historical buildings.
Crowther, a native of Britain now living in Evans, has volunteered with the Sacred Heart Garden Festival for years, and this year her garden is among six that will be featured on the festival's tour.
"It's an honor to be included on the tour," said Crowther. "But the festival is even more important because it's about raising money to preserve history here. We have to look after it or else it won't be here for our children and grandchildren."
The Sacred Heart Garden Festival, which is a fundraiser for the Sacred Heart Cultural Center, will run Friday through April 25 and will include vendors, landscape and floral designers, and speakers. In addition, the festival will include tours of the six local gardens.
Helene Hondrum, of Martinez, has the other Columbia County garden that will be featured on this year's tour. She likens her garden to those found in her home country of Holland.
"The paths are just dirt; I don't use pine straw," she said. "I really made the yard like the one I had at home in Holland. It's very natural and nothing's in a pattern."
Hondrum's garden features Plumeria and a lot of tropical plants.
"I have moved some of my plants from home to home to home," she said. "My beds are mostly raised beds and are laid out with large rocks."
Crowther's garden is meticulously planned and organized.
"I plan my garden so that I always have something blooming," she said. "Of course, there are high periods and low periods, but I've tried to plant plants with different types of leaves and different textures."
For that reason, Crowther said, her garden is unlike the others that will be featured on the tour.
"All of the gardens are going to be different," she said. "I think I have something of everything, apart from vegetables."
Crowther also feels that the weather has worked in the favor of the tour this year.
"I think the tour this year is just going to be amazing," she said. "So many things are beginning to bloom and will be at their peak."
Hondrum and Crowther, both master gardeners, say the festival is something that gardeners -- novice or expert -- won't want to miss.
Tours of the Columbia County gardens will be conducted between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Certified beekeeper Deborah Sasser will present a talk on bee-friendly gardens at the Hondrum home on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and at the Crowther home on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.
Master Gardener Betsy Ristroph, who also is a member of the Audubon Society, will present a program on bird-friendly gardens on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Crowther home and again on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Hondrum home.
"As much as I'm enjoying doing this, I think it's just such a worthwhile reason to be doing it," said Crowther.
For information and to find out where to purchase tickets to the festival and tours, visit www.sacredheartgardenfestival.com or call (706) 826-4700.
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