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Tour History

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On March 6, 1991 a group of friends met to discuss forming a gardening group.  Not a “garden club” in the sense of white gloves and socializing around tea and cake, but a group of serious gardeners intent on cultivating plant knowledge and employing hands-on-learning.   These plucky ladies went on to call themselves simply “The Piedmont Gardeners”.  From that day forward, they focused on gardening education not only for themselves but also in ways to benefit the Athens community with their endeavors.   In a serendipitous discussion with Allan Armitage, Professor of Horticulture at the University of Georgia, who regularly brought his students to visit local private gardens for learning plant identification and uses, the idea of a garden tour was spawned.  The first tour was held in 1992 and intended as a one-time event.  However, the initial tour proved so successful another tour was planned for the following year. 

Since then it has become an annual event* attended by hundreds of garden enthusiasts who want to see how others create and grow their personal backyard paradises.  The tour emphasizes different styles of gardening by do-it-yourself gardeners who are willing to share their gardens and what they know. 

“Athens itself, in many areas, is a garden…and our private gardens add to the public beauty, glimpsed from the street or enjoyed by those invited in.  The Garden Tour of Athens is a rare opportunity to enter into a well chosen few of these sanctuaries…”


* The annual tour was cancelled in 1996 for the Olympics and in 2008 during an extreme drought.