Saturday, 16 July 2016
One of my most longtime gardening dreams is to have a sympatico gardening neighbour right next door. As our garden tour day continued, Allan and I visited two gardens whose creators share that ideal situation.
Garden Six: “A Captivating Mix”
Past the paved garden, the ground fell away in a series of terraces.
At the other side of the lawn, we could glimpse the view of the neighbouring garden and tour guests.
garden seven: “Beauty and the Bees”
Allan points out that this simple path was spaced perfectly for his natural footfall. He is right; it was easy and natural to walk on.
Outside the back door, a concrete patio had a table and chairs where I imagined how nice it would be to dine al fresco.
A small garden bed set into the gravel patio had turned out to be half in shade and half in sun and was planted accordingly.
At the end of the garden, a deck seems to float over the woodland below.
We exited on the other side of the house where we are both 99% sure the hedge shows that deer browse here.
I suddenly realized I was looking at heather! Since every single garden on this tour had a group of knowledgeable volunteers to help out, I said to one of them that I had not realized one could prune heather like this. Not being a heather fan, except for plantings on moor-like slopes, I recently got involved helping to care for a garden that is almost all heather. I had even turned the job down because of the heather overload; Allan had taken it on and, since it is a public garden in our town, I eventually joined in. NOW I see what I can do with some of them to vary the monotony. (They are mostly big flat winter blooming ones.) Little did I know that another heather revelation awaited me in the very next garden.
I had been marveling throughout the entire tour at its high quality, and here I asked one of the volunteers, “Is your tour always this good?” She said yes, and I asked, “How do you find such good gardens year after year?” Her answer spoke volumes to me about what makes a superb garden tour, the sort that appeals both to brand new gardeners and to CPNs (Certified Plant Nuts). She said that when they first started the tour years ago, they “dabbled in having a garden party atmosphere”. Eventually they decided that they are a serious gardening group and wanted to have a serious garden tour with only high quality gardens. As soon as this tour is done, they will be finding the gardens for next years tour. (I hope they take a week off to recuperate and reward themselves.)
I asked how in the world the gardeners achieve such good plant diversity in their gardens and was there a collectors’ nursery in the area? I was told about a few good local nurseries, and that some of them drive to Olympia to shop at Bark and Garden, and that the gardeners often mail order the most cool collectible plants.
I wish I could go back in time and attend all their tours. I had absolutely no idea that such a completely satisfying gardening event had been going on year after year so close to home.
We had one more garden left, and if it maintained standard of excellence, we would have had eight out of eight wonderful gardens.
Next: The final garden actually changes my mind about heathers.