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Blue Moon Gardens: More Than a Family Nursery


blue moon gardens tyler edome tx eguide 2Written and Photographed by Barbara King

It’s time to set aside your boots and heavy coats and pick up your gardening tools! Blue Moon Gardens, located five miles east of Edom, is a gardener’s paradise and a super “destination” day trip to get your garden growing.

The Gardens themselves are an oasis of landscaping and beauty, and you can get a first-hand glimpse of display gardens that will get your creative juices flowing. They feature organic gardening practices and only utilize natural products on their crops. They sell organic soil additives, fertilizers and products that are non-toxic to the environment.

The 6-acre tranquil setting is a mecca of all things “garden,” and the first thing you will see is the rustic 1920’s farmhouse, now their unique gift shop, featuring garden décor, candles, soaps, lotions, home scents, prints and the best in gardening books. The beautifully arranged displays will catch your eye as you wander through the shop with garden gadgets like rain gauges, garden kneelers, hats, birdhouses, chimes and pillows.

Co-owners Mary Wilhite and Sharon Lee Smith are the passionate, enthusiastic “plant geeks” that will talk your ear off about their love of gardening. As Mary explains, “we absolutely love this business because we get to share and create beauty and we’ve been lucky to have been doing it for over 20 years.”

blue moon gardens tyler edome tx eguide 3Grab a little red wagon, take your time and wander the gardens and you’ll spy fanciful garden art, outdoor kitchens, fountains, pottery and art to spruce up any outdoor area. It is a wild, yet very well-laid out treasure trove of garden delights. The Gardens are very much a relaxed, homey atmosphere and you will probably run into the two cats, Sweet Pea and Hank, either roaming the grounds or curled up in a cozy bed in the gift shop.

The twelve greenhouses on the property house unusual and different plants, “mostly cottage garden flowers, heirloom plants, herbs, shrubs, perennials, shrubs and roses, and tropicals,” explains Wilhite. With a staff of very knowledgeable and seasoned gardeners, you can get tips on seeding, growing cuttings, potting and watering, soils, and planting times.

With a degree in Horticulture, co-owner Sharon Smith is available to consult on your garden project on a variety of levels. Services range from an on-site visit and consultation through a detail drafted garden design. She loves to assist in the dreaming, planning and drafting of your space.

blue moon gardens tyler edome tx eguide 7Joanne Idell from Tyler has been a loyal visitor to Blue Moon Gardens for over twenty years. “It is the best nursery around, with the best variety,” she said. “I know that the plants are quality, hardy and healthy and not disease-ridden.” Mrs. Idell was in deep conversation with Kendel, “the man in the know” about shrubs and she said, “this is the place to come for ideas about new and different shrubs and plants that you might never have thought to utilize.”

You will find vegetables and herbs galore and a special shed that houses a multitude of pots, and plants that fare well in shade to roses and seeds. Along the walkways, you’ll find everything from vines, yucca plants, junipers, verbena, lavender, larkspur, zinnias and cosmos.

On this rainy Saturday, an enthusiastic Garden Club is meeting in lively discussion about this month’s topic, vegetable gardening. This group meets the second Saturday of the month and discusses a wide range of topics and shares best practices and growing tips. The Club is open to both experienced and new gardeners for an annual fee of $75. The Club members meet in January to plan discussion topics and upcoming meetings including Fragrance in the Garden, Succulents, Best Texas Natives and Plant Combinations for Beds or Containers. The group will also take a Garden tour during the month of May. For more information about the club, call (903)852-3897. Current members come in to meet, mingle and discuss from Athens, Canton, Wills Point and Dallas.

Mark your calendars to celebrate Spring at the Blue Moon Gardens Open House, scheduled for Saturday, April 25th, with special speakers, programs, food and plants, plants, more plants! The day will feature complimentary refreshments, knowledgeable folks sharing their expertise and food available from the Curbside Taco food truck. Starting at 10am, featured out on the lawn, will be representatives from Ridgetop Growers, Monrovia Nursery, East Texas Daylilies, and Bracy’s Nursery from South Louisiana.

blue moon gardens tyler edome tx eguide 1Speakers will include Dr. Brent Pemberton from Texas A&M Extension Service at 10am, Gabrielle Babcock from Monrovia Growers at 11am and Doug McKemie of East Texas Daylilies at 12 noon.

On Saturday, May 30th from 10am-4pm, the Gardens will host the East Texas Daylily Society, showcasing 75 different varieties of the flower, with members of the Society on hand with information and available to answer questions.

Blue Moon Gardens website (www.bluemoongardens.com) contains a plethora of information about all things ‘garden,’ including a spring to-do list, recipes, detailed information on planting, and how to add fragrance to your beds. This is also the place to keep up with the Gardens and subscribe to their e-letter or monthly newsletter. A listing of available workshops can also be found on the website, with minimal fees for a hands-on session for everything from creating a fairy garden, creating patio pots to even dying scarves.

Celebrate Spring and get your garden going by making Blue Moon Gardens your destination. The Gardens are open daily 9am-5pm daily, located at 13062 FM 279, Edom. Take Hwy 64 West, 2 miles past Pounds Field Airport and turn left on FM 279 (heading toward Edom and Ben Wheeler). The Gardens are 5 ½ miles down on the left on FM 279. For further information, call (903)852-3897.


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East Texas State Fair Returns Sept. 21st-30th!

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East Texas State Fair to Bring Lots of Festivities!

The 2018 East Texas State Fair takes place September 21st-30th in Tyler.

The annual East Texas State Fair is set to host an estimated 250,000 visitors during the ten-day event to enjoy concerts, shows, rides, food, exhibits, and much more. Here’s a look at just some of the festivities to come:

Sheldon Casavant, Magician: World-renowned magician Sheldon Casavant takes the stage in the historic Mayfair building for an amazing show full of laughter, thrills, and impressive illusions. The show is featured each night during the fair at 8pm. The show is set to be as impressive as the 100-year-old building it’s hosted in. The historic Mayfair building was built in the late 1920’s and has seen musicians such as Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and so many more. While the building hasn’t been used in many years, fair organizers are opening it up once again for this spectacular show. Every Day.

The Craft Beer Tour: New to the fair this year the craft beer tour is an event you don’t want to miss. Craft breweries from all over Texas will gather in the upscale venue to present their beers to the public. For just $15 you can purchase a passport to sample up to 24 different beers from all over the State of Texas. So gather your friends and embark on a craft beer adventure. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during the Fair.

The Summit: The ultimate party in the heart of the Fair! The Summit is an all-new venue for live music, beer, margaritas, and a great place to hang out with friends and family. The Summit stage will feature live local music from artist such as Ray Johnston Band, Billie Jo Sewell, Holly Tucker, Sabrina Toole, and many more. Every Day.

Chili Cook-Off: Come enjoy samples of chili from over 30 different teams as they compete for the prize of “Grand Champion.” It’s going to be a great place to hang out with live music, cold beer, and plenty of delicious chili. Interested in having a team of your own? Gather your friends, family, co-workers, etc. and register to compete. Sunday, September 23rd beginning at 9am.

Sea Lion Splash: Sea Lion Splash is a unique show that will have crowds cheering and laughing. It’s an educational show with a “splash.” The sea lions will amaze the crowd as they balance balls, shoot hoops, dance, perform stunts, and show their pretty smiles. This is the only show in the U.S. to feature both California and South American sea lions.

Timberworks: You’ll love this fast-paced thrilling show as two authentic lumberjacks go head-to-head in a variety of competitions. These include log rolling, cross-cut sawing, hot sawing, axe throwing, chainsaw carving, chopping, and speed pole climbing. Timberwork’s Lumberjack Show offers spectators a unique blend of logging history, world class competition, and plenty of hilarious comedy. Every Day.

The Sound Exchange: The Sound Exchange is a five member a cappella group bringing dazzling harmonies, and wise-cracking audience interaction together in a whirlwind a cappella experience that is not to be missed. Whether you love soulful ballads, blistering rock anthems, jazz standards, or chart-topping singles…. or, perhaps you just love to laugh and have fun. Then, you’re in for a treat with the hijinks & harmonies of The Sound Exchange. Every Day

That’s not all! The Fair will be full of a variety of exhibits, attractions, rides, games, and more. From fair favorites like the petting zoo, pony rides, and the legendary food row to a variety of exhibits like AgriWorld, Creative Arts, and The Marketplace there’s sure to be something for everyone to enjoy.

This impressive lineup of all things new to do at the Fair will not disappoint- there’s truly something for everyone. And let’s not forget all the favorite returning attractions:

The Great American Petting Zoo: This petting zoo is unlike any other- held within a 1,200 square foot enclosure, each animal runs freely with the public once inside. A favorite among kiddos, these friendly animals- all hand raised here in Texas- make for a ton of fun in this barrier-free petting zoo. The space is kept immaculately clean, and trained petting zoo staff are always available for any questions. Open every single day of the Fair, find more info here: etstatefair.com/events/2018/great-american-petting-zoo(17)/

The Pony Rides: Your kid will thank you for this one! Come let them experience a real live pony ride, carousel style. For $5, these beautiful, purebred Welsh ponies will take your kiddos for a ride they won’t soon forget. Presented by Pony Express of Texas, these local ponies are safe, clean, and a whole lotta fun. Happening everyday of the fair, find more info here: etstatefair.com/events/2018/pony-rides/

Carnival Rides and Games: As always, the Fair won’t leave you hanging if you’re in need of some thrill or friendly competition. You’ll find tons of exciting rides like The Freak Out, The Tornado, and The Ring of Fire, along with plenty of gaming fun this year at the Fair. For detailed schedule and pricing info, head here: etstatefair.com/p/entertainment-/carnival-rides

Legendary Food Row: Mac & Cheese Fries, Chocolate Covered Fried Bacon, Chili Dogs, Turkey Legs, 4 Meat Baked Potato, Fried Cheesecake…need we say more? The options available at Food Row are endless- wear your comfy pants and your maybe belt a tad loose, because everyone knows there’s no such thing as a diet during the Fair. This is the real deal, folks- find a list of all the different vendors and food offerings here (it’s crazy long!): etstatefair.com/p/entertainment-/food-row

A Ride Share: a special new drop-off lane for coming and going to the fair, made for guests who use a Rideshare service for transportation instead of driving themselves. That’s right folks: this is the year that Fair parking woes and hassles will finally come to an end, leaving you with more important things to worry about (like whether to order a smoked turkey leg or funnel cake..or both.)

“Our goal is to take some of the strain off of our parking lots and make it easier for visitors to come and go safely. The lane will literally drop you off right at the North gate. You’ll step out of your car and walk right in!” -Cody Rosenbalm, Director of Marketing at Park of East Texas.

The drop-off lane is located at the intersection of Front St. (Hwy 31) and Fair Park Dr. The lane is only accessible when traveling eastbound on Front St. (Hwy 31) from the Loop towards downtown.

It’s hard to believe how much there is to offer at this year’s Fair- the organizers have gone above and beyond to ensure an unforgettable experience for each and every guest.

And don’t forget- there’s still SO much more to see and do at the Fair in addition to this incredible curation of attractions. Whether it be the Photography Contest, the Livestock Show, Senior Day Bingo, or the countless exhibits in The Marketplace, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Gear up, everybody- The East Texas State Fair plans to blow it out of the water for 2018. See you there!

For more information or to get tickets go to etstatefair.com.

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Around East Texas

Announcing…Dogtoberfest 2018

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Dogtoberfest 2018:

Craft Beer and Cute Puppies Join For a Great Cause

Join the fun with your four-legged best friend October 27th (11am-7pm) at Dogtoberfest 2018!

Held at Juls Event Center, 7212 Old Jacksonville Hwy., Tyler, Dogtoberfest is the culmination of adoptable pets from local animal rescue groups, pet-related vendors, local live bands, restaurants and food trucks and craft breweries.

The Craft Beer tasting will take place indoors in the newly remodeled Juls Event Center!

The ultimate goal of the day is finding forever homes for as many homeless pets as possible.

They are currently seeking vendors, breweries, and more; applications are available online. For more info go to spcaeasttx.com/events/dogtoberfest-2018. If you have questions about the event, contact: marketing@spcaeasttx.com.

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Fall Fun in East Texas: Fall Festival Guide 2018

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Fall Festival Guide 2018

As weather begins to cool off, the fall festivals will begin. There is a lot of variety and fun planned for all ages!

August 10th: Back the Blue Summer Concert Bash

Back the Blue Summer Bash returns for a third year featuring The Powell Brothers at Love & War in Texas Lindale plus a car show, vendors and family fun at Pickers Pavilion across the street before the show. The festivities start at 1pm. Visit backthebluebash.com for tickets in advance starting at $15 plus more info. This event is benefiting the East Texas Regional Fraternal Order of Police. Tyler Dudley will open starting at 7pm.

September 14th-23rd: Art of Peace Festival, Tyler

The 8th Annual “Art Of Peace” – an East Texas celebration of Peace currently begins on Friday, September 16th and lasts through Sunday, September 23rd. You are invited to join as they celebrate peace, create community, and welcome new friends. Events include Day for Kids at Bergfeld Park, Peace Art Exhibit, Peace Meal, Services and more. A Peace Concert will be held September 21st at Liberty Hall, Downtown Tyler and will feature Trout Fishing in America. The aim of Art of Peace is to promote a spirit of creativity, compassion, and community through partnerships, fellowship, dialogue, social action, music, poetry, and art. For more info go to tylerpeace.com.

October 13th: Lindale 2018 Countryfest & Harvest Hustle 5K, Lindale

Stroll through arts and craft booths, gobble a turkey leg, take a look at the car display, enjoy live entertainment, and bid on auction items – all at Countryfest 2018! Children will spend the day at a variety of activities including: The Texas Bank and Trust climbing wall, Lindale Police Department’s Kid’s ID Booth, and lots of carnival games provided by the First United Methodist Church. There will also be a 5K. This will be held throughout Downtown Lindale and at Picker’s Pavilion and The Cannery Stage. For more info go to lindalechamber.org.

October 11th-14th: Downtown Tyler Film Festival, Downtown Tyler

The Downtown Tyler Film Festival is a celebration of storytelling through film in East Texas. They accept and show short films from all around the world, but have a special fondness for local independent works. Films will be shown each day at Liberty Hall, 103 E. Erwin St., Downtown Tyler. Go to tylerfilmfest.com for details. Tickets are: $5 for any single night (Thursday, Friday, Saturday), $10 for the Sunday Awards Ceremony and wrap party (food/drink included), or $20 for an all-inclusive producer’s pass (three film nights, award ceremony plus wrap party). In advance, you can buy them online from Liberty Hall or in person beginning September 9th at Gallery Main Street, 110 W. Erwin St., Tyler. On every festival night, the box office will open at 6:30pm.

October 13th: 3rd Annual Scottish Festival & Highland Games, Tyler

Grab your kilt and come see the Highland Dancers, bagpipes, Highland athletic competitions plus experience the food and fun designed for all ages. This is a free community event celebrating all things related to Celtic heritage. The DramBeauties, Kilty as Charged Pipers featuring Paul Watson & Matt Bowdin, The Dallas Highland Dancers, Charles Gunn Jr., and special guests will perform this year as well as the Twice Upon a Time Celtic Storytellers! Come and see all the exhibitors demonstrating sheep herding as done on the Scottish plains, War Horses large enough for only William Wallace to ride, Shetland Ponies from the outer Hebrides Islands, Highland Cows, and Blacksmiths will be fashioning Highland knives, Falconers and much, much, more! For more info go to tylerscottishfest.weebly.com or call (903)752-0980. This will be held at South Spring Baptist Church, 17002 US 69, Tyler.

October 13th-14th: Edom Art Festival, Edom

For more than 46 years, the small artists’ community of Edom in East Texas has hosted a festival for working artists presenting its talents to an appreciative audience of gifters and collectors. The festival is the premier art show in East Texas. High quality art, fine crafts, live music, and great food and wine fill the festival grounds behind the resident artists’ studios on the one main street in town, Farm to Market Road 279. This year’s festival takes place from 10am-5pm each day. Admission is free. Visit the resident artists’ studios on the main street, for which Edom is well known. While in town for the festival, visitors can enjoy local restaurants, The Shed and The Edom Café, and tour the gardens of Edom: Blue Moon Gardens, Blueberry Hill farms, Glenda Mae’s Daylily Farm, and The Farmacy, organic produce and more. The “artistic” atmosphere of Edom brings forth the “creative spirit” in everyone who visits. Go to visitedom.com for a detailed schedule of events, local lodging, and a move.

October 18th-21st: Texas Rose Festival, Tyler 

The 85th Texas Rose Festival will be held on October 18th-21st, with “Rock the Rose” as its theme. Amanda Elaine Hiles will reign as the 2018 Texas Rose Festival Queen. She attends Tyler Junior College and is a member of the Apache Belles. The 2018 Duchess of the Texas Rose Festival will be Ann Caswell Ferguson, a student at Baylor University. The Rose Festival activities include the queen’s coronation at the Cowan Center on October 19th, and the Rose Parade on October 20th. Texas Rose Festival Rose Show is free and open to the public, held in the Rose Garden Center. More details can be found at TexasRoseFestival.com.

October 20th: Harvest Wine Day

In celebration of Texas Wine Month, help Keipersol Winery put the vines to sleep for the season at this peaceful day in the vineyard including distillery tours and barrel tastings, winery tours and vineyard photo opportunities. Food will be available for purchase, but you may also choose to eat at any of the restaurants on the winery estate that will be open 7am-10pm (reservations recommended). The vineyard festivities will be from 11am-9pm. For more information call (903)894-8995. Kiepersol Winery, Distillery and Vineyards is located at 4120 FM 344 East in Bullard, kiepersol.com.

October 26th-27th: Fall Feral Hog Festival, Ben Wheeler

Come out and enjoy the Fall Feral Hog Festival Parade followed by live music, arts & crafts vendors, and a wild hog cook-off. This festival also includes a Fall Feral Hog Queen Pageant and more fun! The cook off starts on Friday and goes all night. Judging is at 12 noon on October 27th and winners will be announced at 1pm. For more information, please visit the Facebook page at facebook.com/benwheelertexas or online at benwheelertx.com.

October 26th-28th: East Texas Rose Comic Con: A Year of Anime, Tyler

This science fiction, fantasy, horror, and anime-based convention brings in stars of stage, screen, comics, and more. This is three days of geeky fun that you will not want to miss. There will be gaming, amazing vendors, celebrities, authors, artists, demonstrations, cosplay, musical and dance performances, and much more. Don’t miss the chance to meet some of your favorite stars, attend new special events this year, or see the amazing cosplay contest. Keep up to date with details at toursoftyler.com/east_texas_rose_con.

October 27th: Dogtoberfest Craft Beer Festival and Animal Adoption Event

Craft beer and cute puppies join for a great cause! Join the fun with your four legged best friend October 27th (11am-7pm) at Dogtoberfest 2018! Held at Juls Event Center, 7212 Old Jacksonville Hwy., Tyler, Dogtoberfest is the culmination of adoptable pets from local animal rescue groups, pet-related vendors, local live bands, food trucks, and craft breweries. The Craft Beer tasting will take place indoors in the newly remodeled Juls Event Center! The ultimate goal of the day is finding forever homes for as many homeless pets as possible. They are currently seeking vendors, breweries, and more; applications are available online. For more info go to spcaeasttx.com/events/dogtoberfest-2018/. Contact: marketing@spcaeasttx.com with questions.

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