Painters add new splash of color to annual Garden Club tour

Published 8:32 pm Friday, May 10, 2019

Whether you prefer the intimacy of a small, shady foliage garden, or crave wide open spaces on the outskirts of town where honey bees search for pollen, the Garden Club of Danville’s spring garden tour will be “inspirational.”

The tour is set for Saturday, May 18, and will feature eight local gardens, each with its own personality and characteristics.

A special feature of the tour includes members of the Plein Air Artists of Central Kentucky, who will be creating art at each stop on the tour.

A coral-colored peony is in full bloom in the back garden of Jane Joyce’s Lexington Avenue home. (Photo by Robin Hart)

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“People go on the tour for ideas and for inspiration. Every garden you look at will be different. Some of them you’ll like, and some of them you’ll not like,” said garden club member Susan Jonas. Attendees might question why a gardener did a certain planting that they wouldn’t have done. “Then on the other side of the garden you’ll say, ‘What a great idea. I’m going to try that,'” Jonas said.

Jane Joyce is one of the homeowners opening her backyard garden on Lexington Avenue during the tour.

“It’s a garden that’s meant to be a garden to stroll in,” Joyce said. And the terraced walls are meant to be seats for visitors, she added.

Her Tudor revival cottage was built in 1929. “Someone at some stage was a serious gardener because the two beds along the property lines are dug four feet down, with gravel in the bottom and rich soil and is edged in the house’s original brick.”

The tiny lawn behind the home once was a steep hillside with lots of taxus shrubs along the edges. The taxus had grown so tall that they blocked the view from her large dining room window.

“I started with the flower beds and planted daffodils. Then I sold a book so I had the money to do something,” so she hired a garden designer and they started “digging out the grass and started planting things.” They also terraced the slope with three rock walls.

Gradually, the outdoor space changed as she pulled out the overgrown shrubs and invasive ivy. “I tried all sorts of things.”

Because neighboring pine trees have continued to thrive over the years, “Every year I have less sunshine. … So things I could grow 25 years ago, I can’t grow anymore. But, I’m very interested in white and yellow flowers because they pop out,” from the shady areas. “I’m very interested in texture and aroma,” Joyce said.

Working in her garden and watching it evolve “Gives me so much pleasure,” Joyce said.

“I think it’s interesting  that there’s so much recent scientific study on the effect of some time in a green space and the health of human beings. It’s just so important to have that. … There’s something about having the peace and the quiet, and feeling enfolded in the plants that you have chosen and cared for.”

The artist who will be painting in oils in Joyce’s garden will be Diana Kestley.

In contrast to Joyce’s garden, Jan and Ron Scott’s garden is a spralling farm on Harrodsburg Road. “She has a pollinator garden. Jan is a beekeeper, so her garden is a farm,” Jonas said.

The couple has also planted native trees on their property. “It’s an arboretum in their front yard and around their house. It’s just gorgeous to walk through and see all these trees,” Jonas said.

The featured artists will be Donna Forgas, who will be oil painting, and Lynda Ross, who will be painting in oil or watercolors.

Other gardens along the tour include:

Irises in shades of purple, lavender, pink and yellow are blooming now in Jane Joyce’s garden and will probably be faded by next Saturday, during the Garden Club of Danville’s garden tour. However, something is always coming up and blooming, Joyce said. (Photo by Robin Hart)

• In Old Bridge subdivision, Jim and Linda Porter have created landscaped islands in their front yard using native plants. “She has got her native plants done so beautifully in these islands, it doesn’t look wild or unkempt at all,” Jonas said.

The artist will be Ronnie Gilpin, who will be painting in oils; Marie Taylor will be selling stained glass garden ornaments.

• Sandy and Roger Hartner’s garden on Mapletree Place features a Koi pond and is surrounded by trees, ferns and “delightful” lawn art, according to the brochure, which is also being used as the ticket to the event.

Peggy Bishop will be painting in oils.

• Martha and John Caywood’s backyard garden on Maple Avenue uses stone edging in “graceful curving lines” for the flower and shrub beds that surround an expanse of green lawn, the brochure reads.

• Donna Elam will be painting with watercolors; and Sarah Wiltsee will be painting with acrylics.

Merle and Emily Clarks have one of the most historic houses in Danville, Jonas said. Their gardens wrap around the home and features lots of boxwoods and hostas. “It’s a whole other look. It’s very formal,” Jonas said.

Featured artists will be Connie Beale, Marlene Hanna and Kris Steele, who all will be painting with oils.

• A “cluster” of smaller gardens on the tour are located on St. Mildred’s Court and around the corner on Lexington Avenue.

“All of them are quite small, but they’re all close together to show how even though you don’t have a huge property or acres, you can make a charming garden in a very small space and enjoy it,” Jonas said.

• Susan and Walter Nimocks’ garden on St. Mildred’s Court was turned from a play yard for their children into a “natural garden of native plants to enjoy in retirement,” according to the brochure. It features a pergola covered with orange trumpet vine flowers and vegetables and herbs that grow near the back porch.

Peggy Bishop will be painting in oils.

• Susan and Ruth Shear created their garden space based mostly on advice from neighbors and friends. They also grow herbs in containers and incorporate wind sculptures and rain gauges in the space.

Tilly Sowders will be painting in oils; and Brandon Long will work on a metal sculpture.

Proceeds from ticket sales of the Garden Club of Danville Tour enable the organization to continue supporting gardening projects in the community.

Past projects the Garden Club has supported include grants to the Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge for the purchase of gardening tools to dig out invasive plants; and community gardens and planter boxes.

The Garden Club recently awarded a total of $2,000 in grants to the Community Arts Center for kids flower gardens; Beau Weston for the Danville Tree Fund; Boyle County FFA for raised bed gardens; Boyle County for an arborist consultation for Constitution Square Historic Site; and Danville/Boyle County Humane Society for grounds improvement and beautification.


The Garden Club of Danville’s Eight Inspiring Gardens tour is Saturday, May 18, rain or shine.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the tour. They may be purchased from club members, at The Derby Shoppe or at Maple Tree Gallery.

On the day of the tour, tickets may be purchased at Constitution Square or at any of the gardens on the tour.

For more information visit: