grow, marvel, eat, laugh, persevere

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Rainy Day Garden Walk

Garden buddy accompanied me on my first ever garden walk yesterday. We have similar plant perusing style so I think we made a great team. Get in - Get out! "Like that, hate that, what the heck is that, I gotta get that..."It rained all day but who cares!

The garden walk consisted of 11 houses in 2 of the villages near me. We pulled up at the curb of the conservatory and the little old lady passed us our books with maps and off we went. Garden buddy had the great idea of starting at house number 11 instead of house number 1 to avoid crowds. Great idea, garden buddy! Each garden had a bio in the garden walk guide that seemed to be written by the gardeners themselves. While I drove to each house, garden buddy read the bio so that when we arrived we had the garden's background.

One thing we noticed after the first couple of houses is that, the gardeners who had help from designers started out their bio by describing the look of their garden and what was planted there. In the last paragraph we always found out what designer or landscaper did the work. Contrastingly, the gardeners who did their own work started out their story by telling us how much hard work they had put into their gardens and described their trials and errors, saying much less about the actual plantings. Before I started gardening myself I might have guessed that they described their gardens like this to make apologies for not having "proper gardens" but now that Ive put in all this sweat equity, I realize we gardeners who dig our own beds need for people to know I DID THIS! I DID IT ALL BY MYSELF! AREN'T YOU PROUD OF ME?? I'm not knocking landscape designers. I have said before that if I could afford it, I would hire one myself. But since I did all this myself, I can relate to others like me.

Well, those I-did-it-myself gardens turned out to be our favorites. For me, the gardeners story really reeled me in. Before we even got to the house we had decided "I love this lady and I love her garden!" A few of my favorites were a father-son garden team whose garden began with a son pressuring a father to help him build a pond, then going off to college and leaving the pond for dad to maintain. The garden was beautiful and although we did not get to meet Mr. Gardener, garden buddy decided he was rather romantic because of the iron candle chandelier he placed in one of his outdoor dining areas which seated only two. They called their garden "Shangri La". Here's a picture.

Another favorite was a lady who called herself a "plant collector" rather than a gardener. I loved that she had her big strawberry pot (filled with actual strawberries) on a column so that it stood tall as a centerpiece in one garden even though she knew placing it there meant even easier access for strawberry-loving birds. Take a look.

My I WANT THAT moment came when I spotted this Tamarisk (I think that's what the lady said it was). I think this is the most beautiful thing I've seen in a long time. It's so delicate and feminine and it just screams TOUCH ME....which we did. I'm gettin one of these if I can locate one and find a place for it! One of the volunteers said this was actually suppose to be a shrub but the lady didn't know she was suppose to prune it so I got really big.

My absolute favorite garden was house number 1 (house 11 for us because we went backward.) This gardener was an organic one who said that she set out to draw her children in by growing things that would "tickle their senses like lamb's ear and feather grass to touch, roses and lilies to smell, lady's mantle and balloon flower to admire." She said she wanted her kids to be able to eat directly from her garden so it was important for her to use organic gardening technique. I loved that this gardener was out in her garden while people roamed around gawking at her stuff. I could see the sense of pride in her face as she answered millions of questions. She was much younger than I expected and since I'm struggling with this does-my-garden-obsession-mean-I'm-officially-old attitude, this was nice to see. I also noticed that this gardener had a gardening guy hovering around. It turned out to be her husband. He jumped right in happy to answer my questions about the rain barrels which he had obviously installed. I think it was so cool that he 1. helps her garden 2. participated in a "garden walk" and 3. was eager to say HEY I DID THAT, LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT IT!

Every garden was beautiful and I really admire these gardeners for opening their homes to all these strangers. I bet they have spent the entire summer planning for that one day. I heard one of the gardeners tell someone that she had just had fresh mulch delivered yesterday in an effort to downplay her weedlessness.

It turned out to be a wonderful rainy day. I told garden buddy that, when my house is on the garden walk someday, my bio will say "I did all this myself, with consultation, motivation, and digging help from my garden buddy."


  1. Hi there, thanks for taking us on the tour. Found you over there at May Dreams. Happy Gardening!

  2. Sounds like you had more fun than a barrel of monkeys. You wrote a great post on the different gardens you visited.

    I've led many garden walks in our neighborhood and people really enjoy seeing other people's gardens. Very few were professionally landscaped, but that didn't mean they weren't nice. Even the most simple cottage garden is wonderful.

    I predict that your garden will be on the walk one of these days.

  3. Isn't it wonderful to have a garden buddy? I finally found mine about 6 years ago. We share a love of daylilies. No one else quite understood the fascination so it was special to be with someone would did. We look forward to the open gardens each summer.

    I love the strawberry pot idea. I'm going to try it next year.

    I saw your comment on Ledge and Gardens. I like your blog.

  4. I love garden buddies and have several of them. I also love garden tours. If you read my blog you will see that I'm not adverse to stopping any place that looks promising and conduct my own private any given time.
    Enjoyed reading your blog!

  5. Gardening is not for old people! I'm only 32 and if anyone says gardening isn't for the young, I'll ask them to try and dig a garden bed and see how long it takes before they poop out.