Spring Stroll proves to be a breeze for Hay House patrons taking a peek at secret gardens

Need inspiration? Spring Stroll of Macon Houses and Gardens has some for you.

24th annual Hay House Spring Stroll supports museum and gives a glimpse into some special gardens. And the Garden Market is free.
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24th annual Hay House Spring Stroll supports museum and gives a glimpse into some special gardens. And the Garden Market is free.

Nary a cloud darkened Saturday’s sky, but no one could tell at Still Oaks on Colaparchee Road.

The sprawling canopy of leaves from giant trees shaded those walking through the lucious grounds of the home of Anita Etheridge and J.G. Etheridge, her late husband.

Under the care of an organic gardener for decades, native plants thrive on the property with its magical touches of yard art.

“I see a rooster,” 7-year-old Ivy Nelson, of Twiggs County, told her grandmother as they rounded the corner of the garage.

Playing a scavenger hunt with Ivy as they explored added to the fun for June Nelson, who has been on the tour before.

“I love it,” said Nelson, of Macon. “You get a lot of good ideas.”

Amid the shaded path of fragrant wood chips in the front yard, rusty box springs add height to a bed of ferns.

The bevy of birdhouses made a nice stop for guests along the driveway, where Hay House Director Jonathan Poston was dropping off more brochures for the weekend’s Spring Stroll of Macon Houses and Gardens.

“Pretty weather brings out people to see pretty spaces,” Poston said, as he handed booklets off to volunteer Anne Tunnessend.

“You’re going to want to see the dragon lily,” she told a visitor. “It’s the one with the bloom that smells like rotting meat. ... I’m glad it’s not blooming.”

The Etheridge’s “gardener’s garden” had not been on the tour in recent years, Poston said.

Griffin’s Susan Adams admits she doesn’t have a green thumb, but enjoyed a cool morning walk through the retreat.

The land cocooned in natural walls of greenery is within earshot of the swoosh of traffic on Interstate 475.

It was Adams’ favorite of the eight stops on the tour, which includes more formal gardens in Idle Hour.

The Historic Interiors Tour also showcased five Ingleside area homes Friday and Saturday.

Weekend Spring Stroll ticket prices also include a peek at the Hay House adorned with fresh flowers.

“Isn’t it just beautiful?” Adams said as she took her first look at the music room of Macon’s historic mansion.

Mary Pinson’s towering topiary of fresh orchids anchored the room as part of the Florabrilliance display from local floral designers.

Collin Holder tipped his hat to the Kentucky Derby with his arrangement of red roses and Queen Anne’s Lace in the hallway.

Fresh greens from Agape Nursery cascaded from the centerpiece in the dining room.

Outside, Agape owner Victor Davidson had a batch of plants picked out for his wife from among the half-dozen vendors at the outdoor market, which is free.

Hostas have been the big seller at Davidson’s booth on the east lawn.

“We have a little bit of everything,” Davidson said as he looked around at the succulents and brilliant red begonias.

Under a towering stately gingko tree with its fanned green leaves, Easy Living Gardening Center from Perry had a nook of chairs, a shelter made of screen doors and shelves of plants.

“I have a man who may buy those chairs tomorrow,” Gwenda Spivey said of the two antique red outdoor rockers with matching table.

With a good breeze most of the first two days of the fundraiser for the Hay House, the whirligigs were waving to customers from all across the yard.

“We sold a lot of gigs,” Spivey said. “The whirligigs are turning really good.”

The spinning spades, kissing peacocks and rolling rabbits also will be beckoning buyers as the tours and market wrap up Sunday from 1-5 p.m.

Winds are again forecast to gust to 20 mph with plenty of sunshine for a Sunday stroll.

Liz Fabian: 478-744-4303, @liz_lines