The Garden Capital of Texas will showcase some of its most beautifully landscaped gardens during the Tour of Home Gardens, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 20 and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday May 21. Tickets are $20 and will be on sale beginning Wednesday, April 5 at the Charles Bright Visitor Center, 200 E. Main St., The Blue Horse Bakery, 112 N. Church St., The Liberty Bell, 422 E. Main St. and International Tours, 3208 N. University Dr.


This exclusive tour is thoughtfully curated by the Garden Capital of Texas Committee and includes four stunning private home gardens, including two at Lake Nacogdoches, and public gardens in the downtown area. Details for each garden destination are on the ticket.


“This year's garden tour offers something for everyone," said Diana Walker, Garden Capital of Texas Committee member. "We have some wonderful home gardens out at Lake Nacogdoches, so folks can enjoy a little drive in the country. They can stop at other gardens on the way back into town, and then they can park downtown and enjoy a walking tour and maybe take a break at The Liberty Bell or Blue Horse Bakery."


Sponsors of the Home Garden Tours are StretchER, BancorpSouth, The Liberty Bell and Blue Horse Bakery.


The money raised by the tour will help fund the Garden Capital committee's planting efforts. The Arbor Day Foundation officially designated Nacogdoches as a Tree City in 2015, after the city partnered with the Garden Capital committee and Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful to meet four core standards of urban forestry management. The Garden Capital Committee planted more than 300 trees last year in honor of Nacogdoches' 300th anniversary, and recently planted flowering shrubs and other plants around the chapel at Millard's Crossing.


Gardens featured on this year’s tour include:

Kim and Gary Bass, 161 Shoreline Dr., Lake Nacogdoches

The Bass home is a beautiful, heavily wooded 2.5 acre lot with a private walking trail and three bridges built by the homeowners. The trail is lined with informative tree markers, birdhouses, and feeders. The landscape includes fences, decking, stonework and vegetable garden.


Judy and Jim Buckingham, 541 Country Road 755, Lake Nacogdoches

Dr. Jim Buckingham planned his garden around the stone house that he and his wife Judy built in 2012 on The Bluffs at Mill Branch at Lake Nacogdoches. Initially designed and landscaped by Kimberly Wright from Dragonfly Nursery, the garden has further evolved with the advice and assistance of Jeff Abt. Winding stone paths, terraces, and seating areas within the garden all help achieve the goal of having a house that “looks like it belongs at the lake.” Dr. Buckingham has chosen shade-loving plants for the wooded site — hydrangeas, azaleas, ferns, Japanese maples, and loropetalum. Roses, daisies and palmetto palms are also repeated throughout the garden. Varieties of maple trees have been added for fall color. A unique potting shed/greenhouse made of vintage materials was designed and built by Mark Gaynor.


Greg Patterson Studio & Gallery, 122 N. Mound St.

This garden is part of Greg Patterson Studio & Gallery and is located behind the main building. It is used for photographing clients in natural settings. It features a pond and gazebo at its center, surrounded by several flower beds and walking paths. Outside the white picket fence are other photography “props,” such as an old red truck, a plane, trees, walls and fences. The garden was designed by Texas Gardens. It is now lovingly cared for by the owner’s father-in-law.


TJR Elementary School Garden, 411 Mound Street

The TJR Elementary School Garden serves as an outdoor classroom for students and has various raised beds dedicated to growing fruits and vegetables. Each week elementary students enjoy an hour of fresh air and learn the art of growing their own food. Gardening strategies that foster resilience and nutrient- dense food are utilized to demonstrate an ecologically diverse and chemical-free garden. Some strategies include lasagna gardening, mulching, square-foot gardening and companion planting. This program runs entirely on volunteer support from Resilient Nacogdoches and a generous grant contribution from Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful.


City of Nacogdoches Downtown Planters

Dawn Stover will guide you through the plantings made by the city's gardener, Christy Wright

For more information about the Garden Capital Tour of Home Gardens, contact the Garden Capital of Texas Committee at Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful, 936-560-5624 or by email at You can also friend them on Facebook at The mission of the Nacogdoches Garden Capital of Texas Committee is to educate, engage and inspire Nacogdoches area citizens to become involved in beautifying their community green spaces. The Nacogdoches Garden Capital Committee is a part of Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful.


Nacogdoches County Master Gardeners Association Demonstration Garden, corner of University Drive and Main Street

The Demonstration Garden was established in 2007 when then County Extension Agent Chad Gulley petitioned the city to turn an ugly piece of property into a beautification project and a demonstration garden to educate the public. The property, which is in the flood plain and had been the site of a chicken processing plant, was taken on by the Nacogdoches County Master Gardener Association and is half way into a 20-year beautification project. It is one of the largest of its type in the country, and like everything else in Nacogdoches is very historic.

The demonstration garden was once known as Aqua Vitae Park.  In 1909 it was the site of a medicinal water business and people came from great distances for the healing properties. Today the garden contains a rain water harvesting  model,  a sun dial where you can stand on a month marker and tell the time,  a butterfly garden, a memorial walk (a project of East Texas Hospice) and many beautiful plants and alternate gardening methods.


Downtown Pocket Garden, 111 N. Pecan Street.

Jana and Gary LaFour bought the building at 207 E Main in 2013.  They primarily used the back entrance to access their loft and decided to transform the alley from an eyesore into a garden cottage.  The couple planted flower beds and hanging baskets. In an effort to cover an ugly concrete hump, they built a small deck and a fountain, and then moved in lots of flower pots and planted some hydrangeas and roses. The next project they tackled was the corner of the alley on Pecan St. where the dumpster is located. They dug up that area, uncovering more of the brick street that had been hidden, and built another flower bed. 

The couple purchased the Cox Building on the corner of Pecan and Main in 2015. During the nine-month renovation, they went to work building flower beds around the trees and planning the flower boxes for their third-floor balcony.