Last year, I was asked by the Van Wert Area Master Gardeners if we would open our gardens and share them with the public. After a little thought, I agreed, and now the time for the walk is here! This Sunday, August 9th, from 12:00 - 5:30, Our Little Acre will be open to the public, along with seven other gardens in the Van Wert area. Tickets are $5 per adult and are available at each of the gardens on the walk. For more information, see the Van Wert Master Gardeners' website.
I haven't done anything any differently in the garden this summer expressly for the garden walk. No new beds, no major changes in the existing ones, and my plant purchasing was similar to that in past years. I did my usual seed-planting and have tried to keep up with deadheading and weeding. And as in the past two dry summers, I walked around the gardens, tethered to the water hose. All that rain that people have been talking about that they've received this summer? We didn't get it.
So now it's crunch time and I'm freaking out a little bit. How is it that your gardens can look pretty darn good to you until you start looking at them through someone else's eyes? I don't usually stand back and take an overall look at things, critiquing them as I go, but maybe I should.
I can see gangly Wave petunias in the front flower boxes, the Brandywine tomato plant looks anemic (but still producing giant tomatoes), the Brugmansias chose this year not to grow like gangbusters, and I planted the hardy glad corms too close to their neighbors. The 'Dropmore Scarlet' honeysuckle has a horrible case of powdery mildew. So does the Monarda 'Petite Wonder.'
With too little rain and not enough summer heat, most of the annuals that I planted from seed, which should be blooming their heads off, aren't. The espaliered pyracantha on the south side of the pool house which has grown and looked lovely for three years decided to up and die, even after leafing out this spring. I haven't yet decided if I want to espalier something there again or do another thing altogether. In the meantime, the pyracantha remains and I'm open to suggestions for its replacement.
On the other hand, the 'Teddy Bear' sunflowers have begun to bloom and so have the glads. The watermelon has the cutest little babies and the roses out back are full of blooms. The Sweetspire has just begun to bloom and even though the daylilies are mostly done, 'Sunday Gloves' looks like it will be wearing its own on Sunday. 'Frans Hals' just started blooming two days ago and 'El Desperado' just keeps cranking out the flowers.
The grape vines on the arbor look fabulous for being only their second year growing and 'Reliance' and 'Mars' even have a few clusters of grapes. ('Himrod' would have had them too, except the little neighbor girl pulled them all off.)
Plants are like children. You want them to be on their best behavior when you take them out in public. Sometimes they are and sometimes they aren't. While there are some things that are disappointing, there are many more that exceed expectations. This is home gardening and all part of the learning process of it. My garden is a perpetual experiment. While I'll gladly hear compliments on the good, please ask me about the bad and offer advice.
This is what I love about garden walks, whether I'm the walker or the gardener - talking plants and seeds and shrubs and trees. Butterflies and birds and bugs and blooms. My garden is where I most like to be and I'm happy to entertain guests and friends there.
Come join us!