MARTINSVILLE — When visiting Doug and Kay Flauding’s residence, one of the first things you will notice are the beautiful gardens surrounding the property. A close second might be the sign above the doorbell with a set of simple instructions: “Ring bell. If no answer, pull weeds.”
The Flaudings have spent the last 17 years carefully tending to their gardens, and all their hard work comes to fruition every summer when they open their home for annual garden tours.
“We learn about how to do things every year,” Doug said. “We make a lot of mistakes, but that’s how we learn.”
The tours, nicknamed the “Friends and Neighbors Tour,” will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 8, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 10. at 8047 Goat Hollow Rd in Martinsville. Masks are not required for vaccinated individuals. The Flaudings ask that guests park along the road as close to the edge as possible, as the road is very narrow.
Guests will be provided with a map of the property, and numerous signage will help visitors navigate the gardens.
The gardens are also open for private tours for parties of six or more, or for larger private events until September each year.
“We heard of Plainfield having the garden tours,” Doug said. “For about six years we’ve been involved off and on with the Plainfield gardens, it’s a benefit for the library.”
They have also been involved with Martinsville’s Fall Foliage Festival.
“We would really like (the gardens) to be available,” Doug said. “Come over and take a tour, all you have to do is give us a call.”
After moving from Wisconsin in 2004, the Flaudings have spent their retirement working on their extensive garden. Visitors to the Terra Flora Gardens are entertained by 20 individual gardens and over 400 plants.
Beyond just plants, guests can also see artwork by Mark Oberting and Jack Stallworth, which can be found throughout the gardens. One of these pieces can be found on the “wild side” of the property in the form of a massive 12-foot cross overlooking the property. Try to count the number of birdhouses hidden throughout the property as well.
“We have hundreds of them,” said Doug. “We haven’t even put most of them out.”
The Flaudings credit rummage and yard sales for a large portion of the unique items found throughout the gardens.
Over the past year, the 17-year cicadas have emerged on the property, but luckily the Flaudings had a solution.
“I feed like 100 or 200 to the fish every day,” Kay said.
The cicadas haven’t caused any lasting damage to the property, and the fish in the garden’s “Symphony on the Pond” have enjoyed the meal.
Many of their plants and gardening supplies come from Greendell Landscape Solutions, which they work in conjunction with.
“I have filled the cart many years with Greendell plants,” Kay said. “They’re just outstanding.”
Additionally, the Flaudings will be giving away pots, yard art, gardening books and many more things at the tours.
“You sit all day at a garage sale and you make fifty bucks,” Doug said. “We can give it away and make people happy.”
The Flaudings also emphasized that the garden tours are always free.
“We’ve been really blessed with our health and financially to be able to do all this,” Doug added. “Our reward is when the guests come, and they say ‘oh it’s really nice’ that makes us feel good.”
“It’s all God’s bounty, and we’re here to share it,” Kay said.
To schedule a private tour or for more information, contact Doug and Kay Flauding at 317-270-0900 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Reporter-Times reporter Grace Phillips at email@example.com or at 765-346-4815