Signs of Spring

Azalea Manor offers a colorful
cascade of spring blossoms

Madison in Bloom features
eight private gardens for touring

By Laura Hodges
Contributing Writer

(May 2011) – Tucked away in a narrow lot on Madison, Ind.,’s Main Street, there is an elongated city garden where an undulating limestone border defines the flower beds, spring flowers nod in the breeze and a whispering fountain obscures any noise from passing traffic.

Shirley Smally

Photo by Laura Hodges

Shirley Smally’s private garden
features shade-loving perennials
such as lilly of the valley,
coral bells and columbine.

Guests can enjoy a beautiful garden getaway at the home of David and Shirley Smalley, 510 W. Main St. It is one of eight private gardens on the Madison in Bloom Garden Tour, planned for two consecutive weekends in May.
After purchasing a $10.50 ticket from the Jefferson County Historical Society, visitors can browse the gardens at their leisure on May 14-15 and May 21-22. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays, and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Children under 12 are free.
The Smalley home is not only the couple’s residence, but also a business: Azalea Manor Bed & Breakfast.
Shirley Smalley, who is the gardener-in-chief, started her garden when she bought the Main Street house four years ago.
“When I was younger, I never had time to garden. This has been a therapeutic thing. I wanted something people could relax and enjoy,” said Smalley.
Smalley was an educational consultant at Guide Corp. in Anderson, Ind., until her retirement. Before moving to Madison in February 2008, she had always lived in central Indiana.

May 14-15 and May 21-22
in Madison, Ind.

Tour hours:

10-4 Saturdays;
noon - 4 p.m. Sundays

Tour Sites: 
• Tour Headquarters at Madison Railroad Station & Heritage Center, 615 W. First St., Madison, Ind.
• Garden of Larry and Jinny Hunt, 722 W. Second St.
• Garden of Mrs. Denny Block, 1002 W. Second St.
• Garden of David and Amy Fischmer, 1004 W. Second St.
• Garden of David and Shirley Smalley, 510 W. Main St.
• Garden of Fred Burrell and India Cooper, 315 W. Third St.
• Garden of Christ Episcopal Church, 506 Mulberry St. 
• Garden of Jim and Linda Wenning, 609 E. Main St. 
• Garden of Mrs. Diana Somers, 512 W. Vaughn Dr.
• Tickets: $10 and Children under 12 free. Available at the Jefferson County Historical Society, tour headquarters, 615 W. First St. or the Lanier-Madison Visitors Center, 601 W. First St.
• Information: (812) 265-2335 or visit: www.jchshc.org.

“I always wanted a nice old home, and I like being around people. I’d been looking for the right place to do a bed and breakfast probably for 15 years now,” she said. Every town she visited had some flaw – until she started camping at Clifty Falls State Park and discovered Madison.
For her circa-1833 home on Main Street, she wanted an old-fashioned garden. With homes standing close on both the east and west, the long, narrow garden gets little sun, so Smalley’s plantings are shade-loving perennials such as lily of the valley, bleeding heart, columbine and coral bells. Azalea Manor’s signature azalea bushes add deep color to the spring display.
Wisteria vines, climbing on two arches, will be blooming soon. Smalley is also looking forward to seeing day lilies in the next few weeks. “Stargazers get really tall. You can cut them and make bouquets,” she said.
Smalley has some unusual flowers, many of them in shades of red and pink. She is fond of her boogie woogie astilbe, featuring plumes of pink flowers in early to mid-summer. Smalley has also planted weigela bushes, which have pink trumpet-shaped flowers. Red peonies may be blooming at the time of the tour. A peony tree that her mother gave her, now five to six feet tall, will bring forth enormous rosy-pink blooms with yellow centers. She has rhododendron planted in the front and back of her house.
The total effect is very calming, which is exactly what guests at Azalea Manor are seeking. In addition to the relaxed atmosphere, garden enthusiasts will appreciate Smalley’s visual tutorial in the pleasing use of shade-loving plants.

Back to May 2011 Articles.



Copyright 1999-2015, Kentuckiana Publishing, Inc.

Pick-Up Locations Subscribe Staff Advertise Contact Submit A Story Our Advertisers Columnists Archive Area Links Area Events Search our Site Home Monthly Articles Calendar of Events Kentucky Speedway Madison Chautauqua Madison Ribberfest Madison Regatta