|Something that’s right in my garden right now: The first ‘Cafe au Lait’ dahlia bloom.|
And yet, I rarely invite people into my garden any way other than through this blog (which is much different from really seeing a garden). My mom comes to see my garden from time to time and the occasional neighbor, but that’s about it. In fact I actively avoid having people in my garden and have turned down tour requests on a handful of occasion because I know there are parts of my garden that are far from perfect. And when I look at my garden through someone else’s eyes, all I see are bare spots where plants have failed, weeds plotting a full-on garden coup and design mistakes that you’d think I would have stopped making by now.
So it was with some trepidation that I gave my blogger friend Linda from Each Little World and her husband Mark a tour of the garden last week. I visited their amazing garden last year and I was happy, although nervous, to swap roles.
But the pressure is (mostly) off when you have dedicated gardeners visiting in a casual situation. They understand that weeds happen and plants get moved and bare spots develop. They also understand that sometimes things just get a bit overgrown. So really, I couldn’t have asked for a more understanding audience and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit (while alternately cringing at weeds I missed).
|The best looking spot in the garden right now is the annual border along the house. Everything in this border other than the ‘Bergaarten’ sage and the begonias was grown from seed (or tubers, in the case of the dahlias) by me this winter/spring.|
|The window box is finally starting to fill in and show signs of “spilling.”|
What I didn’t expect to come from the visit, was for me to get something out of it beyond a chance to catch up with friends and talk plants. And yet, I saw my own garden through another person’s eyes. It’s interesting to watch other people in your garden. To see what they are drawn to first, what makes them pause, and what they ask about. It’s the best way to gauge the flow of a space that I can imagine. Just watch people experience your garden.
Linda, Mark and I also had a chat about what I call the Circle Garden (it’s an oval, but that has no ring to it). It was the first garden I really started from scratch on a year or two after we bought our house and I put a ton of work into the bones of it. I still like it and think it has the potential to be a real star in the garden, but what’s there now is not working. I told Linda and Mark that it started as a vegetable garden with some ornamentals but then I realized there wasn’t enough sun for tomatoes and I built a dedicated vegetable garden. And then Mark pointed out that since much of the rest of the garden in that area is shades of green, perhaps something wildly colorful might work. And from there the three of us tossed around ideas.
|I pointed out this Aralia ‘Silver Umbrella’ to Linda when she visited. It was new last year, but I love how it is growing so far.|
The result of that visit is that I realize that the Circle Garden has been bugging me for a long time but I’ve been ignoring it, and for the first time in years, I’m excited about the possibility of starting completely from scratch there.
|Last year I planted this ‘Sapphire Indigo’ clematis and this year it is growing beautifully. It may be my new favorite.|
It’s the kind of inspiration I usually get when I visit a garden. Little did I know it would work the other way too.
So I’m amending my drumbeat encouraging people to visit other gardens to add that it’s equally important to invite people into yours, warts, weed and all.