Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Nature's True Colors; Cassina Garden Club's Garden Walk Is Saturday on St. Simons Island

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Nature's True Colors; Cassina Garden Club's Garden Walk Is Saturday on St. Simons Island

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson

ST. SIMONS ISLAND | When the flowers in Gene Yates' garden fade, he still has plenty of color; red cardinals, red-headed woodpeckers, bluebirds and hummingbirds, among others.

"I bought the house for the view,'' Yates said on his back deck, "and made it better."

That improvement includes a lot of flowers and plants along with the feeders and other things that attract the birds he loves.

Yates' garden is one of the stops Saturday on the Cassina Garden Club's 9th annual Tabby & Tillandsia Garden Walk, a tour of gardens at St. Simons homes.

After his wife's death, Yates left Dublin and bought a house on St. Simons two years ago with a yard that drops down to an expanse of marsh to the west framed by leaning trees.

"I just brought a backhoe in here, stripped everything and started from scratch,'' he said.

As he spoke, bluebirds flitted to and from their nesting boxes to the meal worms he leaves for them while goldfinches clung to the hanging tubes of a sack feeder.

Yates doesn't stop with birdhouses and feeders: He puts out nesting materials.

"And they use it, too. One has bison hair,'' he said. "Bluebirds love that."

If the birds get shy, he still has yellow calla lilies, red begonias and other flowers for color.

As is usual with the Garden Walk, there is plenty of variety.

In fact, Yates' garden is not the only one with birds.

A Hampton Point house has four hens that lay fresh eggs for breakfast almost every day and deer-resistant plants, a necessity on the north end of St. Simons.

Some houses have manicured lawns, but a tabby cottage on East Beach has no grass at all and that's by design. It has flowers and plants spilling from window boxes and planters, brick walks and blackberries climbing a trellis.

An Island Club garden has a wide variety of plants and an English Country garden. …

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