Backyard Habitat Garden Tour

It Can Take Two To Make A Garden

Sunday, November 17, 2019, 1:00-4:00pm

See Tour and Parking Map for directions.
Tickets $20, at Hilltop or any garden day of tour (only cash and checks are accepted on tour day, no credit cards).

Bonus:  The first 40 visitors to the Drummond Garden will receive a free potted plant, a division from Marion and Laurie’s garden. The plant give away includes crocosmia and gladiolus, a few rare curcumin gingers, ground gingers, dancing lady gingers, black elephant ears, and more unusual plants.

In partnership with the Baton Rouge Garden Club, “It Can Take Two To Make A Garden” tour will feature three private gardens in Broadmoor and Woodland Ridge Subdivisions, and Julia Gates Garden together with the Paddle Boat and Pirogue Flower Show at the Baton Rouge Garden Center. 

Our garden tour hosts are Laurie Drummond, Janet and Wally Taylor, Peggy and Charles Coates and the Baton Rouge Garden Club.  Laurie Drummond inherited her mom Marion’s garden in 2014, which she has lovingly tended and added a few new twists of her own. Marion was a native plant enthusiast, plant collector extraordinaire, former LSU Hilltop Arboretum Site Director and Mobile Botanical Garden Director. Janet and Wally lost four oak trees in their backyard during Hurricane Gustav, turning their shade garden into a sun garden they separated into his and hers plantings.  Peggy and Charles Coates converted a backyard of mature trees into a textured, layered garden of serene shades of green with subtle flowering plants, and dug up the green strip along their driveway to plant a pollinator garden. The patio garden is a secluded space for watching birds.  Julia Gates was a member of the Baton Rouge Garden Club for more than 40 years. The Baton Rouge Garden Club planted Julia’s Garden (funded by memorial contributions in her honor) that showcases a collection of trees, shrubs and flowers native to the Southeastern United States. The Paddle Boat and Pirogue Flower Show, also sponsored by the Baton Rouge Garden Club, serves as a forum for learning and discussing the latest horticultural and design trends.

Garden Descriptions and Pictures

The Drummond Garden
9355 Mollylea Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70815

In 2009, at the age of 79, Marion Deane Drummond, former site director for Hilltop Arboretum, quit her job as the Executive Director of the Mobile Botanical Gardens, moved back to Baton Rouge, and bought a house because the land was good-sized for a decent garden, even if there was too much grass, too many crepe myrtle trees, and no imagination.  Within 6 months, most of the trees and grass were gone, and Marion had hauled in about a bazillion football field-sized loads of good dirt, compost, hulled rice shells and who knows what else hocus pocus and magic.  She formed huge raised beds and created grassy paths, sometimes narrow, often winding—much to the resigned dismay of her son, and then her daughter, who mowed the obstacle course mowing. 

Then Marion started planting.  Marion was a collector—but a special kind of collector: she liked to test plants that might not normally seem suitable, or were considered zone friendly, for Baton Rouge.  She bought plants in Tennessee, North Carolina, Texas, Georgia and even Oregon. She also excelled at plant design throughout the seasons and thought that texture, size, shape, and shade were just as important, if not lovelier, than blooms.  She had her weaknesses and obsessions: Japanese maples, curcumin gingers, camellias, crinums, anything that smelled good if you ran your hand through it or crushed a leaf.  She liked challenging plants, unusual plants, plants that her peers told her would never work in her garden.  She tucked solitary chairs here and there, along with metal animals, faces peering up from the dirt, and other garden art that captured her delight.  She made sure all the pollinators were happy; that the monarch butterflies, the black swallowtail, the fritillary, had abundant food and safe places to spin their cocoons; that the birds had food from plants gone to seed and had water and plenty of places to build nests.

When Marion was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2011, her daughter, Laurie, moved here from Oregon.  Laurie had succumbed to the gardening bug when she lived in Austin, TX, and worked extensively with native and xeric plants for 14 years there (and even had her first garden featured in “Postage Stamp Gardens that Work” in Garden Gate Magazine in the 1990s).  Then, she moved to Oregon and discovered a gardener’s paradise where practically anything will grow: peonies, tulips, daffodils, aspen, poppies, Japanese maples, lavender, lilacs, daphnes, raspberries, and pears—it was quite dizzying, the learning curve, and all the possibilities (thank you Sunset’s Western Gardening).

Louisiana gardening?  Laurie knew pretty much nothing. By this time, Marion’s garden needed a lot of work, and so in the last year of her mother’s life, Laurie worked long hours weeding and cleaning up the garden, trying to learn what she could.  Multiple times, she asked her mother, “Could we please do some walk abouts so I can label plants?”  Marion’s response was: “Why do we need labels?  I know what everything is.”  [Yes, Laurie is still slightly peeved about this. There are many plants in this garden that aren’t labeled because even Marion’s many fabulous plant people don’t know what they are!]

After Marion died, Laurie bought the house from her brothers, determined not to let her mother’s last great garden be turned back into a field of grass. (This is what happened to her first in-town Baton Rouge garden and then her amazing and stunning Mobile garden. All of it dug up, gone, replace with blasted grass).  A number of beautiful small specimen trees and shrubs were lost in the summer drought/fall flood of 2016.  Some plants died because Laurie had no idea what they were or how to care for them. [Thank you, John Mayronne, for telling me they probably would have died under Marion’s watch, too, and for sharing her struggles with certain plants that died promptly under my care.]

It was at this point that Laurie realized she couldn’t maintain her mother’s vision, nor did she want to. It was Laurie’s garden now. Laurie removed the grass paths (No more impossible acrobatic mowing feats—ack!) and replaced it with leaf/mulch/pine/whatever else has fallen from the sky paths.  She giggled with glee as she planted lots and lots and LOTS of gladiolas, which her mother wasn’t terribly fond of.  Same with zinnias.  And the color orange.  LOTS of sunflowers of all sizes and shapes and colors, too. Daffodils, thanks to Scott Ogden’s Bulbs for the South that her mother had given her when she lived in Austin. [Did I mention, lots of orange?]

Laurie started testing plants that had worked well in her beloved Austin—the salvias, sages and Pride of Barbados have all been planted by her.  She has tripled the number of Japanese maples in the garden, added some unusual gingers, cajoled Bobby Green into sending her camellias that the garden must have, spent countless hours with the Plants Delight catalogue to narrow her yearly choices to an affordable 3 or 4 plants.  She discovered epimediums. She found sinningias beyond the white her mother had, and baptisias beyond the baby blue.  The first time the Scadoxus that Marion had planted but never seen bloom finally bloomed, Laurie shrieked in wonder (and has managed to coddle them enough to divide and transplant some).  She discovered Edgeworthia and Amsomnias.  She’s trying a different kind of dogwood.  She’s replaced some of the small trees that died in 2016. She’s added different kinds of pineapple lily and manfredas.  She has dug up and moved a LOT of plants that needed more sun as the many trees that Marion had planted grew huge.

She wonders why her mother planted this or there, and WHY she didn’t think about trees growing and turning parts of the garden into a shade garden, and HOW was she supposed to deal with small trees that needed more sun now, and the insanity of this ground cover that is so rampant and tenacious, it’s driving her crazy, and why in the blazes is this plant/shrub/tree suddenly dying, and holy smokes what the heck is that thing that just popped up through the dirt overnight? (A voodoo lily, of course!)

Which is to say, Laurie still gets to walk and talk with her mother every day in the garden that is theirs.  We both hope you enjoy your time in a place that holds our hearts and souls and a lot more orange that Marion would ever have tolerated (ha!).

The Drummond garden in the making!

Marion Drummond's front yard before she planted her garden.Marion Drummond's front yard garden planted in 2009.A picture of Marion Drummond's front yard garden in 2014 from the roof, looking left.A picture of Marion Drummond's front yard garden in 2014 from the roof, looking right.


The Drummond Garden in bloom!
Blue Eyed Grass and Heirloom Byzantine Gladiolus flowers blooming.A ground cover of Yellow Sedum blooming underneath a Japanese Maple tree.A Nun's Habit Orchid blooming.A Curcuma Emerald Choco Zebra with purple and lime green flower spikes blooming.

A Curcuma Roscoeana with orange flower spikes blooming.Pink Zinnia flowers blooming with maroon shrimp planst, rattlesnake plants and baptisia plants.


Janet and Wally Taylor
9340 West Van Place
Baton Rouge, LA 70815

Wally and Janet bought their home in 1992. It had no landscaping and very little grass. Over the years, a wonderful shade garden was established, and all was well. Then, as Mother Nature seems to enjoy, Hurricane Gustav came to Baton Rouge and destroyed all four mature, large oaks in the back yard. Going from all shade to full sun took about two years to wrap our heads around. We then separated the yard into his and hers. One side is for flowers including plants for butterflies and hopefully some shade one day, and the other for vegetables and citrus trees. It’s a work still in progress, but it suits us just fine. Janet has been a member of the Baton Rouge Garden Club for six years.

The Taylor Garden

The Taylor's backyard patio with a glass mosaic mirror and plant collections on a stand.The Taylor's backyard patio with a bench, table, and bird houses mounted on a brick wall.Colorful plants in the Taylor garden with a sculpture made of sea shells hanging from a tree.A white, wooden picket fence and gate leading to the Taylor's vegetable garden.


Peggy and Charles Coates
2730 Tall Timbers Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70816

After getting married five days after Hurricane Gustav, Peggy and Charles began designing, planting, and maintaining their backyard shade garden, patio, and pollinator garden. Peggy, a landscape architect and urban forester, and Charles, a civil engineer, spent evenings at the kitchen table with a glass of wine developing guidelines for the garden design.  Charles likes straight lines, trees, evergreen plants, and a well-maintained grassy lawn. Peggy likes curvy lines, texture, native and any other plant for that matter, as well as flowers throughout the year. Both Peggy and Charles wanted to introduce native plants for wildlife.  Like all good marriages, the final garden design involved compromise and consensus.

With the structure of the backyard shade garden already in place, Hilltop’s Hodge Podge Nursery became the source of the plant palette. The incredible family of plant experts that call Hilltop their volunteer home has given us input on plant selections for over 13 years.  The garden’s shades of green, texture, and subtle blooming flowers envelop the perimeter of the yard in a stand of mature trees.  

The patio garden is in full view through our family room’s French door. It is a secluded space to enjoy a collection of potted plants, and watch birds in the backyard to build their nests in our hanging baskets where they raise their young. A collection of begonias and an avocado tree grown from a pit take center stage.  The décor and repurposed furnishings were “Garden Sale” finds at Hilltop’s Annual PlantFest.

The pollinator garden occupies a three-foot wide and forty-five foot long strip of planting space between the driveway and our neighbor’s fence. It was the only space in the yard where pollinator plants would receive enough sunlight. We enjoy sightings of visiting hummingbirds, butterflies, and moths from our kitchen window.  Four trellises with passion flower and Dutchman pipe vines provide structure for the planting, a collection of perennial host plants for monarch, gulf fritillary, silver-spotted skippers, and cloudless sulphur butterflies. 

When you visit our garden, we hope you can recognize how compromise created a garden we both enjoy, and one in which wildlife can find a home. 

The Coates Garden

The Coates' shade garden with colorful pink and green Coleus plants around three trees.A Gulf Fritillary butterfly drinking nectar from a red Turk's Cap flower in the Coates' garden.The Coates' backyard patio with potted plants with lime green Adirondack chairs.Native Persicaria Virginiana or Knotweed with small red blooms on long stems in the Coates' garden.

Tree canopies of two sweetgum trees in the Coates' garden.White blooming nodding clerodendrum in the Coates' garden.


Baton Rouge Garden Center and Julia Gates Garden
7950 Independence Boulevard
Baton Rouge, LA 70806

The Baton Rouge Garden Center is the location of Julia’s Garden and the Paddle Boat and Pirogue Flower Show.

Julia’s Garden

Julia Gates was a member of the Baton Rouge Garden Club for more than 40 years.  She was a nationally accredited flower show judge, an enthusiastic horticulturist, and a devoted worker on garden club projects.  Julia’s Garden (funded by memorial contributions in her honor) showcases a collection of trees, shrubs, and flowers native to the Southeastern United States, and nativars (cultivars of a native species) benefitting the people, animals, birds, and insect pollinators. The plants featured in the garden are great choices for a variety of growing conditions one encounters in a home garden, like the Dwarf Yaupon ‘Taylors Rudolph,’ a preferred substitute for the introduced boxwood, American Beautyberry ‘Bonner Creek,’ a shrub that produces bright purple fruit that attracts birds in the fall, or the Southern Magnolia ‘Teddy Bear,’ a scaled down version of the iconic southern magnolia. 

Paddle Boat and Pirogue Flower Show

Flower shows help to spread the word about the joys of gardening and serve as forums for learning and discussing the latest horticultural and design trends. The Paddle Boat and Pirogue Flower Show will include floral designs based on the themes, “Dining on the Dock” and “Cruising on the River,” created by the members of the Baton Rouge Garden Club.  Horticulture exhibits depict “Views from the Levee” of nine Louisiana towns from Baton Rouge to White Castle.  Two education exhibits include “Protecting our Waters,” featuring Baton Rouge’s Water Campus, and “Testing New Waters,” a botanical design division of the National Garden Club.

Baton Rouge Garden Center and Julia's Garden

Entrance to the Baton Rouge Garden Center.Native muhly grass in Julia Gates garden.Welcome sign with information about the Julia Gates native plant garden.Native plants in the Julia Gates garden including Weeping Yaupon Holly that has a drooping growth habit.

Fall Garden Tour Details

Sunday, November 17, 2019

1:00 - 4:00 PM 

On-line ticket sales are closed. You can purchase a ticket at any of the gardens on Sunday. Only cash and checks will be accepted, no credit cards.

Tour Addresses and Parking Map 

Questions? Call 225-767-7916 or email: