I always love to find people who have followed their passion and made it something that inspires others as well....a musician who composes a song that you catch yourself humming, or an artist who designs that special handbag that simply makes your outfit, or in this case, gardeners who have turned a hobby into a glorious example of floral display.
In Alpharetta, Georgia, just outside of Atlanta, this special family has done just that. They are very clear that they are not a large-scale nursery, but a small hobby-business. Never the less, it is inspected and licenced by the state. Their love if irises and day lilies fills their front "yard" with a massive display of 400 plus varieties of irises and 500 plus varieties of day lilies. And they just love to share their knowledge and wares with the public. This is Mark and Patty Franklin with their son, Andrew, who own this incredible business called M P Flower Gardens.
This is the simple sign that you will see by the road.
And this is the other side of the driveway. These are not billboard type people!
Turn into their pretty driveway, go up to the house, (be greeted by the sweetest dog), turn around, come back down and park.
This serves as their "welcome center"!
If you are overwhelmed by the visual feast of the real thing, they can work with you from their books.
This sort of describes their practices. I love the fact that they don't dig on Sundays, but invite you to come and "visit and relax among the flowers" on that day.
Even though I was there in late April, some varieties were already sold out. It's smart to stop back several times to see the early, mid and late bloomers.
The grass is freshly mown, the beds are edged and weed free. In sort, it shows me what my gardens COULD be.
Rows are marked so you can easily find the variety you are looking for.
And behind this lovely fountain, are the "bargain beauties".
Everywhere you look, they have added interest to the already gorgeous display.
And beside each variety is.......
signage which indicates the hybridizer and year of introduction, if known.
I think I'm going back for this one!
They were dead-heading when I was there. Man what a job that must be! They all had a smile on their face, though!
But it keeps everything pristine and super tidy.
And maybe this one needs to come home with me, too.
I'm going to just let you look for a while.
And the best part.....when the irises are done, the day lillies will be soon blooming. I salute the Franklins and thank them for adding this lovely spot to our neighborhood. I'm including their contact information below. They have a wonderful catalog and ship for a very reasonable fee. They even offer gift certificates. Mothers' Day, anyone????????
M P Flower Gardens
15230 Birmingham Highway
Alpharetta, Georgia 30004