ANDERSON – Excited to be on the 16th Annual Tour of the Madison County Master Gardener Association, Sandy Hampton has been working hard to ensure everything is perfect for this Saturday. A veteran of the tour, she is looking forward to hearing comments from her visitors.
“It is very gratifying to be on the tour,” said Sandy, owner of Hampton Photography. “One time a woman came through the yard and later bought her husband back with her. She told me ours was her favorite yard on the tour. It feels very good to find that one person who adores what you’ve created.”
“Creating” has been the name of the game for Hampton. When she and her husband, Brad, purchased the property 20 years ago, the yard was a blank canvas. Worse than that, actually, because they first had to bring in truckload after truckload of dirt to address the flooding problem.
“The yard was huge, though, so every year we picked a big project and created a lot of memories,” she said. “I have used a lot of heirlooms in the garden.”
Looking at the many yard ornaments, guests will be surprised to learn how many have been passed down through the family -- or salvaged from family.
“The flagstone around the pond came from my dad’s property,” she said. “One time my grandfather did some work for a man and traded his labor for the flagstone. I had to suit up to get it – it was covered in poison ivy. My favorite project has been building the pond and having that flagstone made it more special.”
Decorating the yard is also her father’s anvil, her grandmother’s metal chairs and her grandfather’s chest. Other unique items have stories behind them.
“That stump over there came from a camping trip in Colorado,” said Hampton, who also works with her sister, Cathy Gray, at Gray’s Design Studio. “The kids tumbled it to the campsite and were so proud of it that it became a garden ornament.”