Friday, June 23, 2000

Gardens open to public

Tour includes new vineyard, garden 'rooms'

By Jenny Callison
Enquirer Contributor

        OXFORD — Although Dorothy Hurley doesn't grow forget-me-nots, many plants in her colorful garden are reminders of people and places that she holds dear.

        She'll share her flowers and memories with visitors this weekend during Oxford's Des Fleurs Garden Club annual Home and Garden Tour. Mrs. Hurley's botanical paradise is one of six stops on the tour.

        “I got that on a trip to South Carolina,” she said of a large cauldron planter hanging from a metal wagon wheel. “The man who made it wanted cash so he could go and get his teeth fixed the next day.”

        Since she retired from Miami University's admissions office in 1992, the Oxford resident has spent countless hours in cultiva tion. Potted orchids and tropical plants winter in her greenhouse and cluster around her deck during the warm months.

        With help from granddaughters Abby, 6, and Bobbi Hurley, 16, Mrs. Hurley continues to expand her beds and add new plants.

        Each garden on the tour has its own personality and surprises, said Marge Smith, who has helped organize the event.

        “There's so much to learn. People can get ideas and learn what they can do themselves,” she said.

        Other tour highlights:

        • A garden with outdoor “rooms” providing habitat for birds and wild creatures.

        • An intimate enclosed garden designed for evening entertaining.

        • The national headquarters and gardens of Beta Theta Pi fraternity, plus a special display of container plantings done by Des Fleurs members.

        • Miami University's botany greenhouse, which contains All-American perennial and vegetable winners as well as a young vineyard.

        • Miami's Formal Gardens, comprising a rose garden, an herb garden, and beds of perennials and annuals.

        “Although the Formal Gardens is open to the public, visitors usually don't have the benefit of a guided tour,” Mrs. Smith said. “There will be knowledgeable gardeners at each site, ready to answer questions.”

        • What: Des Fleurs Garden Club's Home and Garden Tour

        • When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday

        • Cost: $8 in advance or $10 on tour days.

        • To get started: Information and directions given with tickets. Advance tickets available at Oxford Kroger and other local businesses, and at Oxford Municipal Building during tour hours.

        • Information: 523-4369 or 523-3895


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