Written 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.”
Grab 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.
Joanne 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.
Speakers 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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