This is an Olympic Year with the Summer Games to be played in London. Since sports news will become more oriented toward Olympic competitions, it is an exciting time for “Alabama’s Little Corner of Greece” – Jasmine Hill Gardens and Outdoor Museum located between Montgomery and Wetumpka just of U. S. Highway 231 on Jasmine Hill Road.
On May 10 the Olympic Flame lighting ceremony will take place in Olympia, Greece, at the ancient Temple of Hera ruins. Jasmine Hill features the world’s only full-scale copy of the Temple of Heraruins which will show prominently during telecasts of this pageantry.
Now in its 84th year, Jasmine Hill Gardens and Outdoor Museum will open for weekend visitors on Friday, March 16. Gardeners at this 20-acre garden report that they have never seen as many trees and shrubs in full bloom this early in the season. Some azaleas which normally bloom in early April are already showing beautiful color along with the earlier varieties. This early bloom is not unusual when central Alabama experiences a mild winter, and visitors will enjoy color in every direction when they enter the gardens.
There is one exception to the early bloom resulting from the warmer-than-usual winter weather. Japanese cherry trees never seem to be affected by winter temperatures and always start blooming in mid-March. When they reach full bloom, visitors sometimes imagine it is snowing as the tissue-thin petals float toward the ground with a light breeze.
In addition to permanent plantings chosen by founders Ben and Mary Fitzpatrick to generate flowers in all seasons, beds of annuals abound featuring many new varieties of familiar plants and other flowers seldom seen in Alabama. Among the spring beds will be Colorado’s state flower Columbine, spikes of foxglove, fluffy delphinium, unusual colors of African Daisies, and amaryllis. Continuous color forming the background for copies of famous Greek and Roman sculpture is something the staff strives to achieve.
Once open, the gardens will greet guests on Friday and Saturday from 9 AM until 5 PM and on Sunday from noon until 5 PM through June. Beginning July 7 and continuing through October the gardens will remain open on Saturdays from 9 AM until 5 PM.
Admission is charged, but abundant free parking is available. For additional information and pictures, visit the Jasmine Hill website www.jasminehill.org. A printed walking tour is given to each guest. Handicap ramps are available.