I love a good garden tour, and I’m nosy as well, so for the life of me I can’t figure out why it’s taken me so long to finally take advantage of the Back Mountain Bloomers bi-annual garden tour. The Back Mountain Bloomers are a local gardening group and since 2003 they’ve been raising money for a “Rails to Trails” program with the proceeds from their tour. There are displays, demonstrations, and most importantly open gardens!
The gardens ranged from small lots to large, intimate gardens to professionally landscaped, and even a small farm. I think it’s great such a range of gardeners opened their yards for a good cause.
The tour was run like clockwork, with volunteers welcoming you at each home, giving a little background to each garden, pointing out the highlights, suggesting a route through the yard, and answering questions at the demonstration or information stands. We didn’t expect to take up the whole day but between it all (and I admit we were kind of dawdlers) we just barely finished up the seventh garden at the 4:00 cutoff.
There were crowds at spots and at a few of the gardens the parking took a little patience, but that’s to be expected when 400 or so of your neighbors stop by for a look around the yard.
Of course there’s inspiration as well. Gardens which consider space and repetition and enclosure make for wonderful touring and offer up ideas you can take with you, but I’ll leave that to the more disciplined gardeners. I myself would never be able to show such restraint in color or planting… mine is a collector mentality 🙂
Finished perfection is great but I prefer a garden with a few messes, with all kinds of things here and there and with projects started and gardens filling in. The Dyers farm (a name we completely made up) felt like that kind of place. The owner (or at least the one who gardened) was demonstrating her dyeing technique on the grounds of a small farm, complete with farmhouse, shaded porch, barns, outbuildings, gardens, and even a few paddocks filled with various animals.
I can barely keep my lawn mowed, yet here was a whole manicured farmstead with animals to tend and gardens to nurture (and I’m sure protect, this is varmint country!)
I’ll spare you the many photos I took either of the silo, or the garden with silo as backdrop or silo photo bomb. Kevin was with me on this trip and he’s always up for a good laugh, so of course the silo became the running joke of our day.
The day wound down much faster than we expected, and to round it out we hit the lake.
This was a garden where the designer was in charge. A swathe of blue hydrangeas backed up the house, and summer color filled the front, but the highlight was the upper deck which offered a panoramic view of the lake.
We finished the tour a little off-lake at a quite, shaded wildlife garden filled with vegetables, shrubs, and flowers, and plenty of plants for the birds and bees.
Although we were anxious to continue on to a well deserved sit down meal (with appropriate summer beverage of course) I still managed to go on (for likely too long) with the Audubon representative about my own wildlife and invasive plant joys and woes. It was a nice way to wrap up the day and just like everyone else we spoke with, they seemed more than happy to listen to and answer any questions.
The outing was fun, the open gardens were great, but I learned two important things which I wasn’t entirely expecting. The first is I enjoy balancing rocks. If you have no idea what that means, give it a quick search or click >here< and it’s self explanatory. It’s something I picked up at one of the demonstrations. The second is a bit more serious. As I visited garden after garden and saw what talented gardeners were putting together and enjoying plants, it made me realize that I might have a problem. I could possibly have too many plants and have successfully been in denial by surrounding myself with other equally obsessed people. I like those people… a lot… but are they just enabling me? Could be, but I can’t think straight now. I’ve got more to plant, and need to figure out where to fit a silo in!
Have a great weekend 🙂