We've whined and grumbled about the weather this summer, which we actually do most summers, but this year seems to have been especially strange and bothersome for those of us who garden. Not enough rain for the third summer in a row, and this year, no summer heat that most summer flowers require to...well...flower.
But on the day of the garden walk, don't you know, summer decided to arrive in earnest. Sunday's high was 91°, the dew point was 77°, humidity a balmy 98%, and we were actually thankful for the hot 25 mph winds. Without that 'breeze' we would have surely melted. No doubt it kept some people inside for the day, but many ventured out our way and visited Our Little Acre, as part of the Van Wert County Master Gardeners Garden Tour.
Believe it or not, I only took one picture the entire day. I think my brain was overheated, because that's just not my usual m.o. However, I did take several photos of the gardens on Saturday as they were groomed to look as good as they could for an August garden.
If you'd been able to visit here yesterday, this is some of what you would have seen:
The front porch invites you to relax in the shade in a chair, rocker, or the porch swing that Dad made us last year.
As you begin your tour on the north side of our house, you'll first see the Trellis Garden, where I first exercised my newly found gardening muscles back in 2005.
Directly adjacent to the Trellis Garden is our brick patio with a pergola overhead. A Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans 'Flava') has been providing shade over the patio and nectar for the hummingbirds since the pergola was built in 2001.
A flagstone path leads you through an arbor covered with Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis terniflora) into the pool area. Leading away from the pool is a deck walkway to an older octagonal deck around one of the very large and old oak trees on the property. A canvas chair swing hangs from the tree for relaxing.
There is another small flower bed about the same size as the Trellis Garden, bordering the pool area.
Large Arborvitaes were planted to provide a privacy screen for the pool when it was put in in 1988, but a few have died in the meantime. We created a small shade garden with a blue bottle tree (made from one of the dead Arborvitaes) where the shrubs once were.
On the east end of the pool, there is a pool house and a gazebo. Inside the gazebo are several hydrangeas and a large wind chime hangs there. The garden between the two structures is largely Japanese in nature, with a Japanese Maple tree (out of the picture, behind the gazebo) and a well-established 'Sahohime' Japanese tree peony, which had 39 blooms this spring.
On the north side of the pool house is a shade garden containing some native woodland wildflowers such as Hepatica, Solomon's Seal, Wood Violets, Tiarella, and Jacob's Ladder, as well as some hybrid shade plants, under cover of the Serviceberry (Amelanchier sp.) tree.
As you work your way back to Max's Garden at the back of the acre property, you will notice the grape arbor, new this year. There are Mars, Reliance, and Himrod grapevines growing there, with a few clusters of grapes starting to ripen. The vines themselves were planted last year, in the spring.
The entrance to Max's Garden transitions from the yard to the garden...
...and here are a couple other views from the outer edges of it.
Once you enter Max's Garden, you will see a willow chair by a small water feature. The plants in this pond are overwintered in a large plastic bucket in the basement.
As you follow the path through Max's Garden, it will bring you out the back side, where you see what we call the East Border.
Looking behind us at Max's Garden:
Here, you also get a view of the back side of the vegetable garden. There are herbs, melons, tomatoes, sweet corn, green beans, garlic, strawberries, blueberries and beets growing here. Earlier were spinach and peas.
Front view of the veggie garden:
On the north end of the vegetable garden is a directional, with mileage signs marking the distance to the homes of family members and a rustic bird house on top. This garden used to be mostly sun, but the trees are now making it more shady, which means from here on out I'll be growing different things than sun annuals as I have in the past. There is a small rock garden in this section as well.
Coming back towards the front of the property via the south side of the house, you'll see some new plantings as well as some that are original to the house, which was built in 1975. We moved here in 1977.
There is more to see and in greater detail, which I show all through the year as I write this blog. I would like to thank all of the people who took the time to drive out to see our gardens and we were so pleased that so many of you seemed to enjoy them as we do. Your kind comments were greatly appreciated!
A highlight of my day was when a visitor introduced herself to me as one of my regular readers and told me that she had driven 4½ hours (one way!) just to see my gardens. I was so taken aback and honored that someone would even think of doing that. We had a nice chat and she spent quite a bit of time walking through the gardens. I sure enjoyed meeting you, Suz, and hope you feel your trip was worth the extraordinary effort you made to get here. Hopefully, you made it home safe and sound.
As anyone who participates in a garden walk such as this knows, it never seems like it will be that much work when you say, "Yes," but as the time approaches and you try to look at your gardens through a visitor's eyes, you fuss and fret over the tiniest things. Most of those really don't matter in the end, but you still do it.
Romie and I want to thank my mom and dad for coming out a couple of days before the garden walk and helping with whatever we needed. Mom, in her cleaning mode, took care of washing windows and various other cleaning chores, while Dad fluffed up the mulch and cleaned the large fountain near the pool. Thanks so much to both of you.
Thanks also to our two wonderful daughters, who took turns greeting visitors and providing directions. It means a lot to us that you gave up your day to help us welcome others to our home and yours. Though you both are married and no longer live here, as it says on a wall hanging you both gave me a long time ago, home is where your mom is. (Dad, too.) We love you!
If anyone really wanted to come see the gardens and weren't able to, Romie and I invite you to come see them another time. Just let us know and if we're here, we'd love to show you around!
Monday, August 10, 2009
Labels: garden tours