Decatur Garden Tour is now in its 24th year and Sandy Rice, chairman of the tour and a board member at the Wylde Center, said it has become a yearly tradition.
The Wylde Center, formerly known as the Oakhurst Community Garden Project, changed its name April 22, Earth Day. Rice said the name change is a result of the center’s expanded programming and community involvement over the past years.
Rice has been living in Decatur since 2000 and involved in the garden tour for the past seven years. She said this year all of the proceeds will be donated to the Wylde Center.
“The garden tour used to be associated with the Decatur Arts Festival but it separated from that four or five years ago and now it’s a fundraiser for the [Wylde Center],” Rice said.
The theme for this year’s garden tour is “Coming up Roses.” and Rice said the name is due, in part, to the influence of the tour’s presenting sponsor, architectural firm Simmons, Fouts and Fichtel.
Two of the firm’s partners, William Simmons and Chris Fitchel, have a private garden named Rose Hill, which Rice said has more than 400 heirloom roses. Rose Hill is one of the 13 gardens featured on the tour.
“The gardens this year are mostly what I would call big, traditional Southern gardens with lots of native plants and water features like fountains, a stream, a fish pond and a swimming pool,” Rice said.
Rice, whose garden has been featured on the tour twice, said there are several stops on the tour that participants may have seen last year such as the Oakhurst Woodlands Garden on Scott Boulevard. This year the tour will be finishing at the Decatur Cemetery, which Rice said isn’t necessarily a garden.
“It’s more like a green space,” Rice said. “It has just completed a renovation so we’ll be inviting our visitors to stop by and see what the different improvements look like.”
The Decatur Garden Tour will take place May 5-6. Rice said the tour isn’t just for garden enthusiasts but for anyone who wants to see something beautiful to look at.
“In our community, people take a lot of enjoyment in creating a garden but I always like to stress that you don’t have to be a gardener to go on the garden tour—it’s pretty and it’s nice but it doesn’t mean you have to go home and do it yourself,” Rice said.
Rice said many of the gardens featured on the tour are created for therapeutic reasons in addition to trying to beautify the homeowners’ yards.
For more information on the Decatur Garden Tour visit www.decaturgardentour.com.