May 12, 2018: Two gardens in the Gonzales area that will be on the tour

Two area gardens will be on tour as part of a Region 13 Meeting of the American Daylily Society. Though daylilies are the highlighted flower for the tour these two gardens have a lot more to see.

The garden of Jim and Brenda Bridges is located on Brenda's family property in Gonzales, Louisiana. Formerly pasture and farm land, it now makes room for a two street subdivision, Brenda Street and Betty Street named after her and her sister. The subdivision was built by Jim, her father, and brother in the 70s and 80s. After living there for 30 years and raising two children, Jim built their present home right next door in 2005. They were fortunate to acquire three acres adjacent to their home that included a pecan orchard planted by her grandfather. The 70 year old pecan trees can be viewed from the rear garden which can best be described as a buffet of a plant connoisseur.

Brenda is an AHS member and a member of three local daylily clubs. She became a master gardener in 2016. The hundred or so daylilies are planted in amongst salvia, hibiscus, Mexican firebush, roses, clematis (11 at last count) mandevilla, and agapanthus as well as a variety of typical base plants like azaleas, sasanquas, and ornamental trees. With all this she still finds room to sprinkle the garden with annual and perennial color in the spring and fall.

She is proud that her garden is a haven for hummingbirds and butterflies which is both challenging and rewarding. Her other hobby when not gardening is spoiling her four grandchildren. She loves watching them play under the same pecan trees she played under as a child.

Located a stone’s throw from Jim and Brenda Bridges’ Garden on Betty Street is the garden of Chris and Brandi Bridges. Although Chris inherited his love of gardening from his mother, Chris did not become interested in daylilies until receiving an invitation to a bus tour sponsored by the Baton Rouge Daylily Society in 2005. He joined the club shortly thereafter and soon his small daylily collection began to expand. Although he had intended to wait and save towards a professional landscape installation, Chris had to take matters into his own hands and find a spot for the daylilies in the backyard.

In 2012, Chris and Brandi were finally able to follow through on their original intention and the rest of the home was landscaped with the help of landscape architect Brent Reid. Featuring a French drain system and other water collection features, the landscape design solved several site problems by channeling drainage to a nearby canal. The new garden features many traditional Southern favorites such as azaleas (including “George Tabor” and “Chinzan”), camellias (both sasanquas and japonicas), magnolia, Sweet Olive and Indian Hawthorne as well as more unusual selections such as powder puff bush (Calliandra), Firespike, Coral honeysuckle and Chinese Fringe Tree. A number of annuals are also always part of the garden. Additionally, Chris has also begun collecting Japanese maples, with red, yellow and green leaf selections included as well as weeping and coral bark varieties. The garden was featured in a recent issue of the Louisiana Gardener Magazine.

These as well as four other area gardens will be on tour May 12, 2018 from 8:00 – 2:00. Please note 5 of the 6 gardens are private and do not have public restrooms and are not ADA compliant.

Please use good garden edict when visiting. Do not step into the beds without owner’s permission. Do not perform any maintenance, weeding, deadheading etc. These activities could remove possible seed pods or break the weed prevention barrier the garden owner has worked so hard to attain. The garden owners have their own pets and probably do not wish to meet yours.

Independence Park Botanic Gardens (public garden) - 7950 Independence Park, Baton Rouge, LA 70806

Bridges Garden (private garden) - 42045 Betty Street, Gonzales, LA 70737

Bridges Garden (private garden) - 14510 Brenda Drive, Gonzales, LA 70737

Lazar Garden (private garden) - 3875 Forsythia Ave, Baton Rouge, LA 70808

Pressler Magical Garden (private garden) - 7680 Machos Road, Zachary, LA 70791

Rossie Garden (private garden) - 1500 Ellis Drive, Hammond, LA 70401

More information can be obtained from Joe Goudeau at daylilyjoe@gmail.com.