Trails & Trellises ’23: Rolling hills, Spanish moss, warm gardens

Mike and Nancy Sanders (with Moe) stand at their front door welcoming visitors to tour their garden oasis in the midst of cotton country as part of the Piney Hills Master Gardeners’ 2023 “Trails & Trellises” tour. (Photo by Marilyn Miller)

By Marilyn Miller

Saturday, May 20 couldn’t have been a better day for the 2023 Piney Hills Master Gardeners’ “Trails & Trellises” garden tour, which featured three sites that each carry their own unique appeal.

The home of Mike and Nancy Sanders on Cotton Lane just east of Minden is an oasis of color surrounded by hills and valleys of historical cotton fields. Members of Piney Hills selected the Sanders’ location as their refreshment center, with icy homemade lemonade and sugary varieties of cookies laid out poolside for visitors to enjoy.

Sara McDaniel is a pro at welcoming folks to her renovated cottage on McDonald Street in Minden. While the colorful home has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens Magazine, it was the cozy greenhouse and meandering landscape that were the stars Saturday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

The breeze gently moving Spanish moss through the cypress trees on Lake Bistineau set the scene for visitors to the home of Glen and Kelly Warren on Moss Point Road in Heflin. Kelly is the green thumb in the family, and her vision and work are viewable throughout the many acres of the lakeside home.

The Louisiana Master Gardener program is a service and educational activity offered by the LSU AgCenter. The program is designed to recruit and train volunteers to help meet the educational needs of home gardeners while providing an enjoyable and worthwhile service experience for volunteers. 

Master Gardeners are part of the volunteer staff of the LSU AgCenter’s Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service. They provide unbiased, research-based educational assistance and programs on consumer horticulture issues to the gardening public.


Don’t miss out on becoming a Louisiana Master Gardener. The Piney Hills Master Gardeners are accepting applications now for the upcoming Louisiana Master Gardeners class. The classes begin June 13, 2023, and will run through September 13, 2023. The class costs $165. The last day to apply is June 1, 2023. Applications can be found online at or at the Webster or Claiborne Parish Extension offices.

Sara McDaniel welcomes visitors to her home’s meandering gardens and outdoor seating areas, complete with a cozy, decorated greenhouse. The tour took place Saturday, May 20 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. (Photo by Marilyn Miller)

Glen and Kelly Warren stand in the foreground of their sprawling home on Lake Bistineau near Heflin. The home and acreage are surrounded by Spanish moss-decked Cypress trees, and both unique and familiar blooms and greenery. (Photo by Marilyn Miller)