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Madison in Bloom

Garden tours help kick off area’s
summer tourism season

Rogers entertain many guests in Main Street yard

By Chemaign Drumm
Contributing Writer

(May 2007) – Nine years ago, Doug and Judy Rogers moved to Madison from New Jersey. Their residence at 419 W. Main St., like many downtown homes, has a small backyard. There was a brick patio, grass and some wildflowers between the house and garage, but not much else. The Rogers have since transformed their backyard into an oasis that people taking the Madison in Bloom Garden Tour can see for themselves.

Madison in Bloom Logo

 

2007 Garden Tour Stops:

• Tour Headquarters and Check-In: Jefferson County Historical Society’s Heritage Center, 615 W. First St.
• Chris Powers and Mitch Macke, 417 Mill St.
• Doug and Judy Rogers, 419 W. Main St.
• Mr. & Mrs. Wayne Detmer, 105 E. Third St.
• Frankie Long, 523 Mulberry St.
• Sally Wurtz, 508 Jefferson St.
• Diana Somers, 512 E. Vaughn Dr.

The annual event is organized by the Jefferson County Historical Society and takes place over two consecutive weekends. This year’s event has been moved from late April to mid-May to hopefully see warm, sunny weather, according to society director Joe Carr. Visitors will line up for the garden tours on May 12-13 and May 19-20.
The Rogers’ home is tucked behind the Lytle Funeral Home garden. A wrought-iron gate opens onto the brick patio that features a hand-painted arch with a sun-shaped decorative wall hanging. Judy was the artist. A fountain, nestled in flowers and low shrubs and beneath a small tree, gurgles just off the patio.
The Rogers then decided to get rid of the grass and created wandering brick pathways around flower beds trimmed in red brick and using black mulch as ground cover. Statues of various sizes and shape can be found here and there throughout. They also added a wooden privacy fence with an arbor connecting their yard with their next door neighbor.
Because the Rogers’ garden is located directly behind the funeral home’s garden, there have been many times when Judy has looked out her window or opened her door to strangers wandering through her garden or lounging on the patio furniture.
“It doesn’t bother me at all, but it really bothers my neighbor,” said Judy.
She thinks people assume it is part of the funeral home gardens. When she and her husband put in the iron gate, she said it was more for ornamentation than to keep people out.

Rogers' garden

Photo by Chemaign Drumm

The beauty of the Rogers’ garden often
entices people to stroll off Main Street
into their yard to see more.

The Rogers’ garden was suggested to the historical society by a neighbor who had visited their gardens when they had been on the tour in 2002. This year, they were asked to participate again because there were some cancellations. Judy is hoping that the garden comes to life before the tour. Like everyone else, this year’s spring weather hasn’t been conducive to thriving flower gardens.
In 2002, Judy said they were gone for part of the tour and it rained “buckets.” Upon their return, expecting no one, there were 20 to 30 people carrying umbrellas wandering through the garden. The success of the tour is completely dependent on the weather, according to Carr.
The Madison in Bloom Garden tour began 15 years ago as historical society members were brainstorming for ideas to begin the tourist season and to make some money in the process. Planning for the tour begins in June, as soon as the current tour is finished in May. Carr said he and other historical society members find gardens by walking around downtown Madison. Also, people come to them offering their own gardens or with suggestions of others who might work well on the tour.
He noted that most of the time if he finds a garden that intrigues him; he will usually go home and send a note asking if the homeowners would be interested in participating or by making a phone call. There are usually eight or nine gardens on the tour; however, this year there are only six due to the cancellations. Carr said they’ve never had too many people ask to be on the tour and they do have repeat participants. Repeat gardens on the tour are usually shown every two to three years because many visitors are also repeat visitors.
Madison in Bloom is a self-guided tour that takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets can be purchased for $10 at the Madison Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, 501 W. First St., or next door at the Jefferson County Historical Society, 615 W. Main St., Madison. Children under 12 are free.

• For more information, call the historical society at (812) 265-2335 or the tourism office at (812) 265-2956.

Back to May 2007 Articles.

 

 

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