It takes a well-oiled machine for about 110 local Garden Club of Virginia members to get three area homes ready to invite several hundred people for tours.
“Today is a fun but a very crazy day in each of the homes, because all of the arrangers from the two clubs are gathered together,” said Kim Snyder, whose house at 960 Deep Run Road is on the tour. She also is the tour chair.
The other houses are the home of Spencer and Susan Morten at 44 Dove Lane in Stanleytown, and Andrew and Anna Gehrken, at 1 Dan Lee Terrace in Martinsville. Snyder’s husband is Edward Snyder. The houses will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Garden club members created the arrangements Tuesday morning at each of the houses. Their roles started three and a half weeks ago, when they visited the houses so they could see the rooms for which they would be making arrangements and the containers available to use, tour co-chair Joanie Petty said.
Sunday and Monday, procurement teams — small groups of garden club members — raided the gardens of members and friends for flowers to use in arrangements. They brought bucket upon bucket of flowers and greenery to the Snyders’ garage, coordinated by procurement chairs Susan Hodges and Jo Grayson.
All three bays of her garage were full of flowers Tuesday morning.
“Oh my goodness, when Susan and I got to Kim’s this morning at 6 o’clock, all three bays were packed full. Susan and I were overwhelmed, because it was to be split it up between the three houses and Chatmoss” Country Club for the luncheon, Grayson said.
Susan Morris is the arrangements chair, and Martha Medley is the co-chair. “The procurement people have brought gorgeous flowers. The ladies who are arranging have an artistic eye. It’s all coming together,” Medley said.
Friends and neighbors get involved as well. On Dan Lee Terrace, lawns were being mowed and mulch tidied all down the road Tuesday, and the Gehrkens’ neighbor, Barbara Matthews, lent the garden clubs the use of her back yard as a work space.
Five-gallon buckets full of flowers were lined in the shade along an exterior wall of her house as women worked on temporary tables set up in her carport and back yard.
“We have had a lot of fun. It’s going very smoothly,” said Lewis Riddle, who along with Tammy Pearson is a manager for that house.
Debbie Rippe and Gale Gravely are the house managers for the Mortens' house, and Page Beeler and Jackie Van Dyke are the house managers for the Snyders' house.
At each house garden club members act as hosts in 3-hour shifts. Each host has information about details and special attributes of her area of the house. Snyder said she was writing out her host cards on Tuesday morning.
Wednesday, she will be one of only a few members who will not have a specific hosting role. Instead, she and Petty will “be troubleshooting, making sure everything is running smoothly” at all the locations, Snyder said.
The local Martinsville Garden Club and Garden Study Club coordinate the tour, the proceeds of which support Garden Club of Virginia’s restoration of historically significant gardens across the commonwealth.
“The flowers are phenomenal,” Snyder said. “Every year they said, ‘I just don’t know if we’re going to have certain flowers blooming in time for the tour.’” But it works out.
“The peonies are exceptional. We have buckets of irises we don’t usually have. I don’t know if it’s having our tour a little but later” than the traditional April timing, “but the flowers are just exceptional. The scotch bloom is just blooming with vivid yellow — it’s just gorgeous,” Snyder said.