Thursday, August 12, 2010

Five Tips for Garden Touring Time

"God Almightie first planted a Garden. And indeed, it is the Purest of Humane pleasure. It is the Grestest Refreshment to the Spirit of Man."

Francis Bacon (1561 - 1626) Essays

Although summer is half over there is still time to get out and participate in a few local garden tours. These tours are a great way to take time away from your own garden chores and to get a little inspiration from other like-minded individuals. It's a fun way to spend a day and just think of all the ideas you come home with to use in your own personal sanctuary.

But there are a few things you should remember when visiting other people's gardens.
1. Be prepared. It's summer, it's hot so make sure you are caring lots of water with you, don't expect garden hosts to quench your thirst (except for garden knowledge). Bring along plenty of sunscreen, a hat and/or umbrella and remember to wear proper walking shoes. Many gardens are built on uneven ground. And don't forget your camera and a notebook for jotting down the name of that new and must have plant you see in someone else's garden.
2. Garden touring is really an adult activity - it is not particularly appealing for children or pets. Be respectful of your garden hosts and don't bring your dog along for a walk. Summer's heat is not good for your dog and others may have allergies to your pet, so leave Fido at home.
3. Practice good etiquette. Remember someone has opened up their private sanctuary for you to see and worked hard on getting it ready for your visit. Don't pick the flowers or snatch any seed pods unless you ask the owner and have been given permission. Most gardeners are happy to share seeds and plants but they need to be asked first. If you are using a tripod for photography work, ask first if you can place it in gardens to get a close-up. And don't expect to be able to use homeowners bathrooms, find a public washroom before or after visiting the garden.
4. If it is an expansive garden, don't get discouraged about your own garden. Instead look at the individual elements that combine to create this unique garden and take the elements back and recreate them in your own garden setting. Remember that everyone's garden is a combination of personal elements reflecting the artistry of the gardener.
5. Be patient with the gardeners when asking questions. By the end of the day, the gardener may have answered the same question 100 times and simply be out of steam (especially if the day is sunny and hot).
So take a day off, seek out some local gardens and get touring. There is still time, summer's not over yet and many localities still have garden tours posted. And best of all come home refreshed and full of new ideas for next garden season.