Azaleas Starting To Bloom In Time for Festival - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

03/15/04 - Tyler

Azaleas Starting To Bloom In Time for Festival

The sound of tree trimming and hedge clipping has been all around Monday as folks put the last minute touches on their gardens. Most homeowners spend time and money to put on their best show for the tourists and the locals, including a couple who just bought an historic property, and they say it helps to complete this entire area.

"It's one of the most exciting projects we've ever taken on."

Don and Bonny Edmonds have lived in the Azalea District for 11 years.  But this year, their new home built in the roaring 20s is roaring back to life.

Don: "Bonny and I have always have a feeling for old house and old neighborhoods, so it's just a matter of wanting to re-create something for the history of the city."

The home in the 900 block of South College had been presentable but a bit overgrown. Uncovering the acre of land, they uncovered relics of the past -- like an old decorative fountain.

"We didn't even know it was there.  The ivy had totally covered it," Bonny says. 

Don is hard at work, wanting to make the best statement possible.

"It's a matter of coming up with a plan about what you're going to put back in. I wanted to avoid just willy-nilly putting stuff in the ground, so I got some help from a professional landscape designer," says Don. 

"I hope this completes a major part of the landscape puzzle, you might say. We are surrounded on the back side by two gorgeous yards." says Bonny.

New grass is being delivered, stone masons chip away, and while most of the newly planted flowers won't be in their fullest bloom this year, the Edmonds know how important their contribution is to the community.

"We're just trying to get the place kind of presentable because thousands of people are going to be coming for the Azalea Trails," Don says.

"Most people the age of my husband and I are looking at garden apartments, but this is a real treasure," says Bonny.

The economic effect is big for the city. Estimates are Tyler receives on average between $2.5-3 million each year because of tourism.

This year's trails have eight miles of gardens to see. The festival officially begins this Friday and runs through April 4th.

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