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Mastering their gardens
Tour shares time, talents of members
garden WEB
Six members of the Forsyth County Master Gardeners opened their homes to the community Wednesday for a tour of gardens. - photo by Alyssa LaRenzie
Visitors admired the bright green vines cascading down a wall in Jackie Grote’s garden on Saturday.“It’s called akebia,” Grote said. “It’s a vigorous grower, and I prune it all the time.”The Forsyth County Master Gardener was happy to open up her labor of love to all kinds of plant lovers as part of the group’s biennial garden tour.Six master gardeners made up the self-guided adventure through a variety of garden types that serves as a fundraiser for the organization.Grote, selected for the tour for a second time, said seeing the hundreds of plant lovers stroll through her garden is “just fun.”“We’ve had a lot of people leave with some really good ideas,” she said.Rick Holden and his wife, Mary Jean, enjoy gardening but admitted that their home doesn’t look as fantastical as the master gardeners’ on the tour.“We’ve seen some really nice ones too,” Rick Holden said. “All of them have got these special little touches.”Grote’s garden was featured for its use of many plants — 220 varieties — in a small space at her Vickery Village home.On the county’s north end, the 10-acre Whittle Hill provides plenty of land for a variety of gardens and natural beauty.Now retired, Dennis Whittle started his work 33 years ago, when he was working as a principal for a county elementary school.Beginning with a vegetable garden, the property now includes an Asian garden with a koi pond, woodland trails with plantings and a variety of flower beds.Linda Whittle said she was raised in the country working on the land, but her husband grew up in a city and took to gardening as a hobby after they settled into their northwestern Forsyth home.“He thinks hoeing is relaxing, but I know better,” Linda Whittle joked.She helps her husband, a master gardener of 18 years, to tend to the plants, and she creates outdoor art for Whittle Hill, including her “gourd head” characters made from the vegetable.Visitors spent plenty of time perusing the organic garden, which Carol Singleton described as “just beautiful.”Singleton traveled from Centre, Ala., for the Forsyth County tour, since she has a friend who’s a local master gardener.“I’ve enjoyed gardening a long time,” she said.