April showers bring home tour flowers

This screen porch at the Richardson/Gallant house exemplifies the marriage of indoor and outdoor env Photo available for purchase

This screen porch at the Richardson/Gallant house exemplifies the marriage of indoor and outdoor environments typical of Apalachicola style.

Lois Swoboda
Published: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 03:05 PM.

After a week of rainy weather, the sun came out on Saturday and smiled on the 22nd annual Historic Apalachicola Home and Garden Tour.

Organizers said they believe they lost a number of visitors from areas west of Panama City due to the impact of severe storms earlier in the week, including two groups from Pensacola that cancelled ticket reservations.

All told, about 700 visitors took in this year’s tour which organizer Susan Clementson said was in line with the numbers attracted in 2012 and 2013. Almost 250 luncheons were served by the ladies of Trinity Episcopal Church, which sponsors the tour.

With some yards temporarily converted to lakefront property, tour organizers took a proactive approach to damage control and distributed disposable booties to homeowners to encase damp footwear. Pam Richardson went even further at her Ninth Street cottage and created brick stepping-stones the morning of the event to provide guests with a waterless walkway.

There was a bright side to the unusually wet spring. Lawns and gardens were sparkling fresh and beautifully green. The temperature was also perfect for walking and biking around town, and stormy days had swept the air clean of seasonal pollen.

The line-up of homes and gardens on this year’s tour was outstanding. The Whiteside Wheatley house was the featured home on this year’s tour. Briana Wheatley, originally from Dallas, Texas, purchased the house two years ago and moved here in 2013. She said the house, built for George H. Whiteside, owner and operator of the Apalachicola Ice and Canning Company, in the Gothic Revival Style, circa 1872, had undergone major renovations before the purchase and that her work was largely cosmetic rather than structural.

“It was more a case of bringing the house back. It had been vacant for a few years,” said Wheatley.

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