I keep going along as the accompanying spouse of my wife when she goes on excursions with Kathy Hanna’s Conservation Committee of the Dunwoody Women’s Club. About two more such tag along visits with them and I’ll have to go all Bruce Jenner on you and apply for official membership. My latest visit was a real treat. In the backyards of several houses in The Briars North subdivision lies a striking and memorable garden. The garden consists of approximately one-half acre of land broken into several smaller garden areas including a pond with a waterfall, a rose garden, a gracious and soothing lawn and a sitting area with its own waterfall memorial. It is truly a labor of love. Suzanne Conreaux, owner of the fabulous Blooms of Dunwoody flower shop in The Village, jointly developed this garden with her neighbor, Dr. Bob Gold. It has an interesting history. Some years ago Suzanne and her husband were able to purchase a half-acre of land bordering their back yard. Not too long after, Dr. Gold, approached them with an offer to buy that piece of land from them. They were not interested in selling. They had been trying to buy that half-acre for nine years before finally reaching an agreement with the seller. However, further discussions with Dr. Gold revealed that, like Suzanne, he wanted the land to build a garden. His interest was not just a garden, but a memorial garden to his recently deceased wife, Jane. Through all the discussions, Dr. Gold and the Conreaux’s realized that they had a common objective and decided to share the building of the garden. They contacted James Tackett of JTL Landscaping, and together they all worked out a plan that included a memorial rose garden for the late Jane Gold and additional gardens for everyone to share. They offered access to the garden to their neighbors if they wanted to share in the development of the space. Most did and subsequently re-landscaped their backyards to reflect the style of the larger shared garden. All participating homeowners now have gated access to the garden as well as a picturesque backdrop to their own private, well landscaped yards. The garden was started three years ago with the removal of trees that had been neglected and subsequently over grown with poison ivy and other vines. There were also lots and lots of weeds, privet, English ivy and other noxious growth. The removal of all of this enabled them to create a large sunny area for planting. The recent two hard winters since the garden was first planted have dented the growth of some of the original plantings, but enough remain in great condition to make this a truly spectacular space. Dr. Gold recently remarried, and the wedding was held in the garden. I can’t imagine a much more beautiful spot. I was able to visit this private garden in connection with the Dunwoody Women’s Club. Suzanne Conreaux and Blooms of Dunwoody are great supporters of the Women’s Club’s annual Dunwoody Home Tour. Suzanne, through a connection with Kathy Hanna of the Women’s Club, arranged for a visit and tour of their gardens. I managed to tag along as the husband of a Club member. It was a most generous offer by Suzanne. I continue to find little hidden gems like this throughout Dunwoody. I am very impressed with what our neighbors have done to promote gardening and their willingness to share their gardens with our readers. Jeff Coghill has been gardening in DeKalb County for more than 35 years and has probably killed at least one of each kind of plant he has tried before getting another one to thrive. He is a gardening volunteer at the Dunwoody Nature Center and works closely with members of the DeKalb Master Gardeners group. He can be reached at dunwoodygardener@yahoo.com.

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