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Abingdon garden tour highlights recovery

By Jim Conrad, jconrad@wcyb.com
Published On: Jun 04 2013 04:29:20 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 03 2013 11:00:00 PM CDT

Among the homes on this year's Abingdon Garden Tour are some destroyed by tornadoes two years ago.

ABINGDON, Va. -

It's amazing how nature recovers after a natural disaster. We've seen that happen in our region following the tornadoes a couple of years ago.

But for home gardeners, years of work were gone in mere seconds.

Abingdon's Garden Club holds its 15th garden tour this weekend, and a couple of the homes on the tour had their beautiful gardens destroyed by the storms in April 2011.

We talked with one family about their garden recovery.

The violent storms of 2011 drastically changed the look of Glenrochie's golf course. It also changed the way Mike and Joann Shepard's backyard garden looked. The beautiful circular flower beds were once the place where large trees stood before the April storms.

They still remember that night. "My first inclination was to sleep through it, but Joann was watching the news and she was watching the radar. The closer the red got, the more she was up and around saying we need to get downstairs. She grabbed the dog and was going downstairs," Mike says.

Their home suffered significant damage, and so did their gardens. "That year our house was still in rack and ruin with siding curling up and windows boarded up and all. But we're out in the garden planting flowers. Everybody laughed at us and said they knew what our priorities were," Joann laughed.

And after two years, the results are part of the Abingdon Garden Club garden tour, along with another garden that has been brought lovingly back.

It gave gardeners a chance to rethink and replant. "We decided to plant flower gardens and smaller trees of the dwarf varieties so that we would always have the beautiful vistas that we enjoy now," Joann says.

"These are things that we can replace. These are trees, these are gardens. These are things that we can actually replace and it gives a chance to say well, I really loved that tree, but now the tree is no longer there so it doesn't block anything. Now we can put in flowers," Mike adds.

This is only one of the seven gardens on this years tour that includes all of the stories of the celebration of blooms.