Shandon is the site of Columbia Green’s 30th annual Festival of Gardens, Saturday, April 22 and Sunday, April 23. The neighborhood of Shandon was established in 1904 as one of Columbia’s early suburbs and was annexed into Columbia in 1913. Twelve residential gardens and one memorial park garden are featured on the tour.
While festival focus is on the outdoor landscapes and garden rooms, each garden compliments the architectural ancestry and style of the home it surrounds from American foursquare and prairie style, to cottage and bungalow with porches and patios.
Some of the gardens carry the homeowners’ personal theme, for example, pollinator garden, shade garden, mother and daughter, whims and whimsy, kid-friendly garden, secret garden, painter’s studio garden, and meditation place.
Visitors will be introduced to native and nonnative plants in all layers of the landscape from groundcover, to herbaceous layer, to shrubs, to understory trees, and to canopy. Some gardens were designed and built by the homeowner. Some had assistance from local landscape designers or landscape architects.
Let’s take a verbal peek at two of the gardens— one full sun garden and one shade garden. Master Gardener Linda Suber and husband Von converted a volleyball court into a pollinator paradise. They grow a variety of milkweed for monarchs. Linda’s first spring 2023 monarch came to lay eggs on common milkweed April 5. The garden grows parsley, fennel, and dill for black swallowtails to complete their life cycle. Snapdragons bring buckeye butterflies. Pansies and violets host the variegated fritillary. Rubythroated hummingbirds love her salvias and red bottlebrush plant. Many annual and perennial herbaceous plants bring the bees.
Linda’s garden is registered with the Rosalyn Carter Butterfly Trail at rosalynncarterbutterflytrail.org/.
Finding the perfect balance of sun and shade for plants in a garden is a juggling act many homeowners face. When Kevin Smith moved to his ‘modest cottage’ with front porch in 2006, he desired a design for his front and back yard gardens that could be installed in phases on the shady site. He hired landscape designer John Long to draft a plan. Smith uses shade tolerant plants including yews, boxwood, ferns, fatsia, and cast iron plants and continues to trial annuals and perennials to bring color to the cottage-garden.
Advance tickets to the Festival of Gardens may be purchased online at www.columbiagreen.com. In-person registration begins at 9:30 a.m., Saturday, April 22 and at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, April 23 at St. John’s Episcopal Church Gym, 2827 Wheat Street. Registrants may visit each garden once over two days in any order.
Master Gardeners posted at each garden can assist with tour and plant questions.
All proceeds from the Festival of Gardens fund Columbia Green’s beautification projects throughout the metropolitan area.
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