Garden Gnome: Gardens have historic charm

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Every year one would think there’s no way the Sacred Heart Garden Festival can find more beautiful gardens. But they do and this year is no exception.

As a festival volunteer, I had the good fortune to already visit the gardens on tour this year. Even in the winter these gardens were inspiring. By the end of April I bet you they will be fabulous.

If you are into history at all and love the feel of gardens lovingly tended to for decades, the Meigs Street home of Nicole and Paul G. McDonough will knock you out.

The rich, historic feel of the McDonoughs’ gardens are fitting for property once owned by George Walton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

The gorgeous front gate of rod iron and the unique iron hanger for a lamp near the front door, as well as a large water fountain date back to the early 1900s. Here the garden are simple to let the house and art shine.

Following the path to the right of the house lets you enter an enchanting patio area flanked by beds of flowering ornaments and flowers. There is an incredible statue of Italian marble to see.

Down the round curved steps of red brick starts a wonderful maze of paths winding through the back garden of massive flowering bushes and stately trees, some with huge flowering vines woven around their bark.

Along the way you can sit and soak in the scene at a stone table with its circular bench. Around the bend you will find a carved, stone chalice-like artwork that may be an old Victorian trail head marker. At its base are carved lions’ heads.

Don’t miss the surprise in the center of the garden where a private wonder is shielded by massive camellia bushes.


• The Aiken High School FFA plant sale starts this week and concludes Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon. Call Meghan Wood at (803) 641-2500 at Aiken High School for details or e-mail

• April 21-28, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Woodlanders open house. The mail-order business opens to the public at 1128 Colleton Ave., Aiken.

• Sacred Heart Garden Festival is April 27 through 29. Three-day tickets are $10, and the three-day tickets with garden tour are $25. Buy tickets at sacredheartgarden

• May 12: The Basic Horticulture Class sponsored by the Augusta Council of Garden Clubs is herbs. Mary Louis Hagler is the speaker. Cost is $25 and includes lunch and snacks. Go to to register.

• 8:30 a.m. June 7, Savannah Rapisa Pavilion: The Hydrangea Conference sponsored by the CSRA Hydrangea Society features coach and gardener Vince Dooley. Register at

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