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Southern Inspiration Garden

Early morning.  Quiet footsteps heard between joyous bird songs.  Then more soft footsteps are accompanied by quiet greetings you hear exchanged by good friends.  Master Gardeners are gathering as they do each Monday to work at Garvan Gardens’ Southern Inspiration Garden in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  Not only is it a stunning garden room, but it is also a teaching garden displaying primarily perennials and their companion plants that do particularly well in central Arkansas.

The project was conceived by Garland County Master Gardeners, who recruited 17 other gardening organizations to help fund and implement this wondrous garden room as a gem of the state botanical garden, Garvan Woodland Gardens. Planted and quietly opened three years ago, it now is the site for exciting trees: Chinese pastiche, Japanese maple, and a redbud in honor of Janet Carson, who, in addition to being the University of Arkansas Extension Horticulture Specialist, is the revered state coordinator for the Arkansas Master Gardener Program. 

The Inspiration Garden is stunning year round, but spring dresses her in vibrant colors, and so she becomes a favorite place to so many visitors. Urns were stuffed with tulips in full bloom in March and early April.  Many Master Gardeners who lovingly donate their time, energy, and talents are trained Garvan Gardens docents who delight in describing the purpose of the garden to visitors. It is not rare to observe a couple from Dallas, a family from Illinois, a group of teens from Oklahoma, or an elderly Kansas couple talk together in hushed tones and listen to answers by the Master Gardeners.  Often there are families from Europe enchanted with the multiple flower choices so different from those at home.

Sources: Article by Sharon Dent and pictures are by Hilde Simmons (co-chairs of the Southern Inspiration Garden Committee for the Garland County Master Gardens).  Edited by Grazzie Warbritton.

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