Road Trip - Memphis Hydrangea Tour

Michael and I braved the heat yesterday to drive up to Memphis (about 2.5 hours from Florence) to attend the Mid-South Hydrangea Tour. I had printed out maps from the MapQuest website and tried to pinpoint the best routes so that we wouldn't spend too much time lost. From experience, you don't want to be with Michael when he doesn't know where he is. That man is in serious need of a chill pill.

The MapQuest directions were not that bad but they were not the best either. We made a few wrong turns but managed to visit 4 out of 6 gardens and finished before noon and before the sweltering heat became unbearable. I do have another item for my wish list - I want a GPS device for trips like this. If you have any recommendations, let me know.

We then drove across town to visit our friend Joann, had lunch at PF Changs (yeah!) and stopped at a few shops. Michael's aunt and cousin drove up from Mississippi and we all had a good visit. Got home around 8pm totally exhausted and slept till 8am this morning. Unheard of!

On to some garden photos. The first garden was very small and charming - a lush patio/courtyard area. Not too many hydrangeas at this one. I think this is "Ayesha".

Doesn't this look like a great place to relax?

This beautiful hydrangea was at the second garden and I'm kicking myself because I didn't write the name down.

This one is "Angel Song", one from the "Halo" series that I wrote about earlier.

I love this archway made from terra cotta pots - clever!

My favorite garden was this one. This is a narrow pathway along the side of the house which leads to the beautiful garden in back.

Looking back in the opposite direction toward the front lawn.

The back garden featured this adorable potting shed.

A patio area. I love the rock work and the way she integrated architectural pieces into the borders.

A long view of the garden. This garden had a Mediterranean feel with manicured grassy areas and lots of stonework and gravel. Loved it!

I don't know what this groundcover is but I like very much.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. I can see that you came home with lots of inspiration from these gardens. Don't you want to make a rock wall around your patio and place some wonderful architectural artifacts in/on it?. That terra cotta pot arch is very whimsical. It would fall apart here during winter but I really like the look of it. The heat can really take it out of you.

  2. Beautiful! I hope Jill didn't run y'all ragged during the visit:) Also, I would highly recommend a Tomtom. Nicholas could tell you the model he has, but it has been very user friendly.

  3. Stunning gardens and beautiful pictures you took, as always! Thanks for braving the heat.

    Is it possible the ground cover in the last picture is wild ginger?

    My GPS is a Garmin (not one of the expensive ones - got it @ Costco) and I LOVE it! I download a new map every 2 years @ $70 or so.

  4. Absolutely stunning as always. The mystery ground cover reminds me of wild violet.

    The unusual hydrangea you're kicking yourself for not writing down the name looks a lot like my mom's "Blue Lacecap" except obviously this one is pink! :)

    Oh, and until you get a GPS, I definitely recommend using Google Maps directions and never Mapquest. I've been stranded one too many times by it!

  5. What a wonderful tour! I am already trying to figure out how to make the terra cotta pot arch! Phillip, we use a navigation system that is installed on our new droid phones~One less device to carry.

  6. Hey, I'm one of the 2 women who accosted you both in the street. You took some beautiful pictures of our gardens. Linda Orton, the owner of your favorite, worked so hard to get ready and it really shows. Should you get back to Memphis, we would love to show you some more wonderful gardens. And by the way, the plant is our native ginger and so easy to grow.

  7. I like both gardens but can see so much good structure in that second one. I second the comment about Google maps being better than Mapquest. Actually, I check both of them sometimes. Haven't made the leap to a GPS device yet.

  8. Thanks Philip, I felt like I was there minus having to brave the heat. Love the pic of the potting shed...I have a thing about those.

  9. Someone needs to do a "How To" about that arch! Divine! What beautifl hydrangeas here. I agree, that last gardens is just jaw dropping.

  10. Now this really is a glorious post!!! Beautiful gardens and lovely photos... Larry

  11. Anne, it was great meeting you and I'd love to see more Memphis gardens!

  12. The arch made of pots is so unique. Love it.

    It was the perfect time for the garden you said was your favorite. Absolutely everything blooming.

    The ground cover spilling out of the pot is asarum/ginger. There are a couple different varieties. When we were young we called them little brown jugs because of the flower hidden under the leaves.

  13. Thanks for taking us on the tour with you. Sounds like a wonderful time, and P.F. Chang's is a favorite among us gluten free types.

    I love those Halo series hydrangeas. I don't own any, but wish I did.~~Dee

  14. I enjoyed the tour, Phillip. Thanks a ton. The heat is back again here too - of course not as bad as in May but it's still hotttt! 32 deg. C!!!
    The cool pictures are refreshing in this heat. Thank you :)

  15. Hi Phillip, Wonderful tour, thanks for taking us along.
    I believe that hydrangea you forgot to take the name of is 'Beauty Vendomoise' I will photograph mine & we can compare.

  16. Thanks for sharing your garden tour! Beautiful photos! That last garden really is beautiful. I love the hydrangea lined path that leads into her back garden.

    Thanks for commenting on my Tropicana post. You asked if it could be transplanted this time of year. It is a tough plant. If it is still small and you can dig lots of dirt up with it, then keep it very well watered through the summer, I think you could do it. Otherwise, I would wait till fall. Good luck!

  17. Great tour.

    If that un-named hydrangea is 'Beauty Vendomoise', then I think I'll search it out.


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