Highland Blooms: Humphrey, Linn gardens

The Highland Blooms II: Garden Tour is set for Saturday. Over the next few days, you’ll get a glimpse of the gardens. Today: the Humphrey garden and the Linn garden.


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Humphrey garden

That whole condo experiment just didn’t work out for Ben Humphrey.

He wanted a yard.

He got his wish three years ago when he purchased a circa 1895 house in the Highland area. Unfortunately, the once-lovely garden had been neglected to the point of desolation.

Still, Humphrey saw the potential in the shady space. After sitting back a year to see what had survived – an azalea, boxwoods, some irises and cast iron plants – he had a dead tree removed, thinned some limbs to let more light in and got to work.

“I’m not a great gardener, but I like playing in the dirt,” he said.

Among the plants he added in the shady side yard are daylilies, crinums, camellias, astilbes, azaleas, agapanthus, Jane Oriental magnolia, hydrangeas and hostas. Out front, where there’s plenty of sun, he put in roses, Asiatic lilies, irises, lantana, bottle brush, and Forest Pansy redbud, among others.

Garden features include an iron lace gazebo dome sitting on tall Four Seasons statues, large fountain, an outdoor fireplace and numerous benches and pieces of statuary. It’s a great place to sit back and enjoy the views – which you’ll be able to do since this garden is where complimentary refreshments will be served.


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Linn garden

What was once an empty lot extending to a drainage ditch beside Matthew and Lisa Linn’s home on Rutherford is now the site of a labyrinth, large gazebo and rambling plantings.

“It’s kind of Rocky Balboa-type garden,” Lisa said. “I just go in it and start planting seeds.”

Lisa, who grew up gardening with her mother, says she has a natural green thumb.

“I’m a nerdy little science kid,” she said.

The quarter-mile labyrinth – Matthew’s idea – was the site of the couple’s wedding ceremony last year. Then, it was enclosed in sweet peas clinging to the wire fence. (How romantic is that?) This year, patches of sweet peas and honeysuckle add color and fragrance.

“It invokes a sense of calm,” Lisa said.

And whimsy.

“Matthew is a believer in all things mystical and fairies,” Lisa said.

Sounds like Lisa is too, based on her plans for the garden tour.

“I’m going to dress up like a fairy.”

Highland Blooms

  • When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 10. Rain date: May 11.
  • Gardens of: Ben Humphrey, 948 Boulevard St.; Lisa Linn, 627 Rutherford St.; Cathy McDonald, 518 Columbia St.; Katherine Brandl, 323 Washington St.; Bob Specien, 2601 Highland Ave.; and Pat Crager, 2221 Creswell Ave.
  • Also features: Spring Artist Market, 2102 Southern Ave.; food trucks and dining area at the Center for Families, 864 Olive St.; “The Art of Bonsai” talk at 11 a.m., 2601 Highland.
  • Admission: $12, available online at http://www.thehighlandexperience.org/tickets/, any of the gardens or at C&C Electric, 2430 Line Ave.



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