Backyard Bliss

Are You Ready to Tour the Lowcountry’s Most Beautiful Gardens?

BackyardBliss 0517Photography provided by NancyLee Honey-Marsh and Carole Galli

Whether genetic or environmental, certain talents are innate. “My dad, a banker, enjoyed having a vegetable garden, and my mom, a flower garden. I remember standing outside with them holding a rake when I was 4 years old,” smiled Mary Ann Snyder, whose Asian influenced garden is featured on the All Saints Episcopal Church Garden Tour 2017.

There are splashes of color surrounding us, signaling spring is in full bloom. Showcasing outstanding gardens in the area, All Saints Episcopal Church’s 30th Annual Garden Tour offers the opportunity to marvel and admire the ingenuity and creativity of seven amazing gardens, throughout Hilton Head Island and Bluffton. On May 20, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., you can browse through gardens bursting with splendid flowers, plants and various inspirational gardening styles. Tickets are $35 and include lunch at All Saints Episcopal Church social hall at 3001 Meeting Street on Hilton Head.  

As we strolled through Mary Ann’s garden, she said, “Living in Western New York we only had about three months of gardening time, so being on Hilton Head is a true pleasure for us.” Tired of snow and dreary days, the Snyders visited the Golden Isles several times, until a friend suggested Hilton Head. “We fell in love, built our home and moved to the Island in 2002.”
BackyardBliss2 0517When Mary Ann showed signs of retiring from gardening, worn out by the harsh northern winters, her husband, Len, encouraged her to “plant just a few flowers” in their new island yard. That was it for Mary Ann. Her creative gardening juices flooded their yard once again. “The learning curve here was huge,” she declared. “I visited many gardens, continuously asked questions and read tons of gardening books.”

Having always loved the tranquility of a Japanese garden, Mary Ann created an amazing oasis, featuring numerous oriental touches. Pointing to a colorful bridge, she said, “My sons designed and built that, and Len painted it for me. Hurricane Matthew destroyed a great deal of our garden, and we had to rebuild most of it. My son, Eric, who came down from Ohio, was a lifesaver with the clean up and re-creation. He designed a circle of tree stumps from the many trees Matthew devastated, and we centered them with a three-tiered planter and Buddha. That Asian temple (she pointed) was discovered in an old Port Royal Plantation home, buried in vines and debris. What a find! See that tree lying across our creek? We hope to make a bridge out of it to connect with our friends’ home on the other side.”

Since gardening is a beautiful way to harness nature’s art, BackyardBliss3 0517artist Joyce Nagel originated the idea of a poster contest for artists and photographers 14 years ago. “We now distribute more than 100 posters throughout Beaufort County and Savannah. We are delighted this year’s winner is a fairly new local artist, Mary Agnes Garman. Hers is a happy painting and says garden with more than just one flower!”
Garden Tour 2017 Chair Carole Galli, who has served on the Garden Tour Board for five years, is thrilled with this year’s line up of gardens. “This year’s tour promises to be a special event, featuring seven unique gardens, each having it’s own personality. Three of the gardens are on Hilton Head Island and four are in Bluffton,” said Carole. In addition, there are a few other special events encompassing tour day. Included in the price of the ticket ($35) is a delicious luncheon, two master gardeners on site to answer questions, original art work for sale, a beautiful hand-crafted wares boutique, homemade baked goods, Pino Gelato to purchase, live music and an opportunity for fellowship with old friends and new.

Carole added, “I wanted to do something special for former chairpersons, so we are honoring them with a Champagne reception. This will be our 15th annual Premier Party to commend the tour’s participating gardeners, and we are delighted multiple charities will benefit from the garden tour proceeds.” This year’s charitable recipients include, Antioch Educational Center, Backpack Buddies of Bluffton, Backpack Buddies of Hilton Head, Hilton Head Safe Harbor, St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church Outreach Food Bank and The Literacy Center.

Gardens Include:
A Tranquil Haven by Bill and Pia Cotton, Hilton Head Plantation
Backyard Oasis by William and Pat Hendrickson, Belfair Plantation
A Labor in Love by Tim Drake, Spanish Wells
Hidden Lake-View Garden by Will and Marty Fuller, Belfair Plantation
Elysian Gardens by Alex and Barbara Kasten, Rose Hill Plantation
Peaceful Sanctuary   by Len and Mary Ann Snyder, Hilton Head Plantation
Color My World at the Cottage by Liddy Stansbury, Sawmill, Bluffton


30th Annual All Saints Garden Tour
Saturday, May 20, 2017 •  10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
All Saints Episcopal Church
Luncheon included and available
11 am - 2 pm in church’s social hall
Tickets ($35) are available online at and at the church, as well as various retail outlets around town, including Burke’s Pharmacy, Pretty Papers, LeCookery and The Greenery. For a full listing, log on to the Website.

15th Annual Premier Party
To honor the gardeners.
Sunday, May 7th  •  Spring Lake Pavilion
Chairman’s Champagne Celebration
Honoring the current board and the past
chairs—being given by the current chair,
Carole Galli—in a private home in River Bend.
Evening before the tour.
Commemorative Quilt Raffle
Quilt created by two parishioners who are
master quilters for the 30th Annual Tour. Raffle tickets $5 available online at and at the church on day of tour. Drawing 4 pm on day of tour.

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