Cathy Adams admits she was not born with a trowel in her hand. Planting a flat of impatiens each spring was once the extent of her horticultural prowess. But in 1997 that changed. Wooed by a vine-covered Tudor home perched high on a ridge that overlooks the Birmingham city skyline, Cathy and her husband, Tom, fell hard. It's a good thing that love conquers all, as "every invasive plant in the state of Alabama called these once-formal gardens home," she declares. As Cathy cleared brush by the truckloads, magic began to happen. Old perennials appeared where the sun warmed the bare soil. "I fell in love with the legacy left by the women who had gardened here before me," she says. Today's garden is a celebration of those women and Cathy's favorite season—fall. Her go-to plants are easy-care roses, heat-tolerant sages, and showy swamp sunflowers. "My hope is that years from now, some of the flowers I have planted will make yet another woman happy," says Cathy, "inspiring her to garden too."