Vanessa Gardner Nagel chirps about garden design

Payday Loans Payday Loans

Opening My Garden

Near the house, our fire-pit area has plenty of seats and a red umbrella for a little shade in the hottest part of the day.

Near the house, our fire-pit area has plenty of seats and a red umbrella for a little shade in the hottest part of the day.

Belonging to a gardening group such as the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon offers an opportunity to share your garden with other members. Each year the HPSO committee creates a booklet containing a list of gardeners willing to open and share their gardens from late spring to early fall for that year. Gardeners must make their decision in January, allowing the committee adequate time to create the booklet.

A swath of blue oat grass surrounds an ornamental pot with some attention getting succulents.

A swath of blue oat grass surrounds an ornamental pot with some attention getting succulents.

This year I decided to open my garden since I hadn’t done so for the HPSO in several years. In January, all things seem possible. The reality is that it always comes down to the wire with doing the best you can manage with whatever Mother Nature and life has dealt you during the intervening period. So plans to remodel and paint both pergola and patio fence, relocate the blueberries to the crop circle to create a bocce court, and sand & paint the decks succumbed to being too busy with garden design clients. Removing two of the three overgrown (and invasive) English laurels left a large space on which to spend the limited resources of time and money. Many garden areas simply needed an infusion of a few plant replacements: either new or relocated. Some areas just needed to be ripped out and re-done. Plants needed to move to new areas to be more successful. I’m not telling gardeners anything they don’t already know. This is the life of a gardener.

 

Attending an open garden often creates expectations that the garden must be in a perfect state. In a small garden, that is more likely the possibility, as the amount of required resources isn’t as demanding. However, in a large garden, such as mine, resources required to do everything one wants to do can leave one in a pauper’s state. And with our numerous mature Douglas firs, the fir debris alone is a constant maintenance issue. I also believe that gardeners should not be intimidated by these expectations because seeing a portion or two of a garden in an unfinished state offers opportunities for learning that might not otherwise be visible. This would not be the case for a show garden or a garden where people are being charged to enter (necessarily), but for a garden club where members share their gardens, this practice should be more common. I have visited some public gardens when only the irrigation system was visible at the end of February. However, I saw volunteers pruning, preparing soil, and was able to analyze the irrigation layout. Very educational!

At our patio, a copper-finished set of steel screens with Japanese family crests keeps the mood Asian in a refreshing way.

At our patio, a copper-finished set of steel screens with Japanese family crests keeps the mood Asian in a refreshing way.

On the adjacent deck are comfortable rattan red-orange chairs with a gurgling pot nearby.

On the adjacent deck are comfortable rattan red-orange chairs with a gurgling pot nearby.

Heleniums were at their peak near our Thai spirit house...where good spirits greet garden visitors.

Heleniums were at their peak near our Thai spirit house…where good spirits greet garden visitors.

The large grass circle in the foreground generated a lot of discussion around sustainable turf grass and what is considered desirable aesthetically.

The large grass circle in the foreground generated a lot of discussion around sustainable turf grass and what is considered desirable aesthetically.

The day my garden was open (several weeks ago on a perfect August day) I had roughly 50 people visit, which kept me on my feet talking with other gardeners for the full 5 hours. Many plant questions were answered, gardening advice was shared, lemonade and gingersnaps were dispensed, and everyone had a delightful time. Enjoy the photos from the day!

No garden is complete without a little sense of humor. A few of my commonly used tools...to protect 'in case of dragons'.

No garden is complete without a little sense of humor. A few of my commonly used tools…to protect ‘in case of dragons’.

Share
5 Responses to Opening My Garden
  1. Pip
    September 18, 2014 | 8:32 pm

    Your garden looks great. The other advantage of not aiming for perfection is so that visitors are less intimidated & don’t create unrealistic expectations that are unlikely to ever be met in their own gardens. We have lots of garden (& home) makeover shows that I suspect set viewers up for disappointment & domestic strife!

  2. Loree / danger garden
    September 19, 2014 | 9:06 pm

    Still bummed I wasn’t able to make your open garden, at least I have the memories (and photos) of my visit last year!

  3. admin
    September 20, 2014 | 10:40 pm

    And now, Loree, I am ripping out the azaleas, cutting down the big pine tree (so I can see the Ginkgo), and re-doing some beds this fall. So it will be yet again different next year. It’s what we do, right?!

  4. Alison
    October 4, 2014 | 8:02 am

    I would have liked to make it to your Open Garden this year, but it just wasn’t in the cards. Maybe next year? I’m heartened to hear that you don’t think it needed to be perfect. I’m having a bunch of bloggers over today to see my garden, and there are definitely some less than lovely spots.

  5. admin
    October 4, 2014 | 1:25 pm

    Hope it goes well, Alison! I will not be opening my garden next year, although I will have it in the HPSO book ‘open by appointment’. I plan to open it again in 2016 in late spring.

Leave a Reply


Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://seasonsgardendesign.com/GardenChirps/opening-my-garden/trackback/