SHOP BY DEPARTMENT
Houzz Logo Print
spectre_gw

500 Passengers Set Sail That Day For A Three Hour Tour....

spectre
19 years ago

Hello All:
The tourists started getting rough, the tiny yard was tossed.

If not for the help of the G.R. posts, his garden would be lost, his garden would be lost.

By now I hope you know why the devious title was written . . . a shameless attempt to get you to read this thread and give me your take on the following question: has your garden ever been on a tour (Garden Conservancy, fundraiser) etc.) and what do you do to prepare? I'm on two this year (possibly three) and I'm nervous that it won't deliver. For example, do you worry about plants being labeled, dead leaves being tended, or do you say, "screw it" and let the garden do its thing without worrying about it?

And one last question . . .if the Professor had the expertise to build a thermonuclear device out of bamboo and coconut husks, why was he unable to build a boat to get of the island? I would have asked the Ginger or Mary Ann question, but we're in mixed company and we have a real Ginger here.

spectre

Comments (49)

  • ginger_nh
    19 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Have never had my gardens displayed on a tour, but have been on tours myself. I love to see others' gardens and am always very impressed with the amount of preparation work that goes on, the time and $$ spent, the fortitude it takes to allow strangers to step foot on your property with their complaints and criticisms as well as their compliments and praise.

    Having said this, one of the things that puzzles me is the garden tour garden(home)owner who goes to all of this apparent trouble and then does something of a halfway job - not weeding a big section of the garden, leaving the garbage cans out at the entrance, walking around in a housecoat, or some other alarming indication that he or she wasn't quite ready for the tour. Makes the visitor feel uncomfortable(or at least that's how I feel). If one signs up to have one's garden on the tour, then get ready and be ready for that first visitor who comes walking down the path and all the rest.

    I am considering having my home gardens on next year's local garden club tour and have been thinking about what needs to be attended to in order to assure that visitors enjoy their time in my garden. Good question, Mr. Spectre . . . next?

  • The_Mohave__Kid
    19 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    If I visited your garden I would let a lot slide if you at least served some Coffe and Donuts !

    LOL regarding the professor ... perhaps the downfall of a University Education.

    Good Day ...

  • Related Discussions

    Covering over a tennis court

    Q

    Comments (5)
    Oh, there was someone talking about a basketball court- let me see if i can find it! I'm pasting the answers, cuz it was part of a very long thread- if you're looking for it, it was on Garden Restoration Forum. They also talked about spongepainting a patio- but i don't know if they were serious. This was a really good thread, talking about how to get a garden ready for a garden tour. RE: 500 Passengers Set Sail That Day For A Three Hour Tour.... Posted by: ginger_nh z4 NH (My Page) on Mon, Feb 9, 04 at 8:56 Margie- Do your boys still use the basketball court? What are you going to do with it? I have an article somewhere that I saved - a gardener laid down gravel on a blacktop basketball court, planted some groundcover sedums but basically used the area for a container garden - it was magnificent. Also, Beth Chatto's famous English gravel garden was built on a blacktop parking lot. But you probably already know these things. G. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- RE: 500 Passengers Set Sail That Day For A Three Hour Tour.... Posted by: Cady 6b MA (My Page) on Mon, Feb 9, 04 at 10:08 Momcat and Ginger,I used pea gravel to "get rid of" a concrete parking pad and some extra driveway I don't use. It makes a big difference in appearance. And, it's easy to take care of. You can put planters on it, benches, anything. A leafblower and rake removes the organic debris that inevitably ends up there, and any weeds that try to get in there are easy to remove.
    ...See More

    Our trip across the pond

    Q

    Comments (23)
    Rosewitch, England was definitely one of my favorite places I have ever visited. My folks took me there when I was 14, and I remember bits and pieces the Crown jewels, walking amongst the Stonehenge stones (roped off now, vandalism), Stratford upon Avon. Time for me to take my own 14YO. Im trying to think how I can get over there for a whole summer, LOL. Dlynn, I could have worked so much more. I didnt really look at night time stuff and there was loads to do. Greece: cant help you, but shoot Yasou a line, she went a few years ago. LOL Annie! Teresa, well go together. I wanted to explore more cooking and food shops/stores but didnt get to. Terri, here is more a link to Pictures of England, a website pointed out to me by Denise. I started it on Bourton on the Water, where we stayed for a few days. Thanks Sharon, I was actually thinking how can I even come close to posting her quality of travel guides, I dont do the pictures she does LOL. We might have sat at the same table in the Cheshire Cheeses dining room! Sawdust still there, but we didnt make it to the cellar. I missed a lot of the British Museum. It has changed.check out the new atrium. I couldnt keep up with DH and DS16. Afternoons, when I planned museums, I crashed. Next time! Pam, lots of people did more than we did per day! Theater every night, more attractions, I cant imagine. Gina heh heh yeah I need another vacation like a hole in my head. Speaking of whichDH has another week off in August. Nooooooooo! Kathleen, DH says he took an average of 200 pictures a day. Yup. Me, I just buy the post cards or Google the images, same thing (DARFC from the photo bugs here) Cathy, thanks for giving me the War and Peace moniker heh heh. Next time I go with CF friends! LindaC, I know. Im still exhausted. Speaking of the V&A, did you know there was a Dale Chihuly chandelier in the entrance room?
    ...See More

    Valuable information about your rights as a cruise passenger.

    Q

    Comments (11)
    I thought that I had posted on this but guess not. This is why you purchase travel insurance to cover this sort of thing. It's a small portion of the cost of the trip and well worth it if something happens. We started when we traveled with friends, one of whom had a long-term illness, and we never knew whether we would make the trip or not. There are any number of things that could happen that would interrupt you trip. On a trip to Greece, a woman on our tour stepped in a hole and broke her leg. She had to be transported back to Boston on a stretcher which took out several rows of seats on the plane. Her travel insurance covered that.
    ...See More

    Rome--books about it or set there

    Q

    Comments (53)
    I apologizes if I have been a little rude, may be, I should have written "I have to dissent" Instead of " I must", but the fact is, that I know badly one language, my own (Italian) and I know a few words of another one (English) besides I forgot to say that, when I read The da Vinci Code, I, like Cindy, enjoied it , but it was clear to me that....ok Cindy has already said the same thing I want to say it was a page turner for me. I think it was towards the end when things got too convuluted that I screamed 'enough'. I was surprised that it took such a hold. And very surprised how many people read this as non fiction. Anyway I want also back Woodnynph2 advice about Tim Parks, he is a really good judge of Italian behaviour, I've only read his non fiction books, because his novels are a little too intelectual for my poor education grelobe p.s. of course one Brown's book...is enough Here is a link that might be useful: Tim Parks non fiction books and other
    ...See More
  • The_Mohave__Kid
    19 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Also ... If there was at least one thing in the garden that you were EXCITED about or if YOU were excited about gardening I would be sold and qyite eager to return ...

    If I myself saw your Alula I would be flabagasted ..

    I can't see you and your garden being a blast !!

    Good Day ...

  • spectre
    Original Author
    19 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    So, Ginger, am I to assume that I am the guinea pig for you? LOL.

    And Mohave Kid, perhaps you can do the 5 hour roadie to check it out sometime this summer. You're always welcome to visit if you have any reason to be in San Diego. Believe me, the Alula is not that big a deal and you might be underwhelmed, but one put out it's first set of flowers last fall. I'll try and take a pic of the plant and post it on this thread this week. They're available at the Huntington Garden Plant Sale and at a succulent nursery very close by.

    spectre

  • The_Mohave__Kid
    19 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I may take you up on that ... I do go to Ca and am always amazed at the plantings you guys are able to have ... I'll buy dinner !! ... I love some of the missions out your way ... one of them claims to have the first pepper tree brought to the region .... I have much less then a great photo ... I'll see if I can post it in the gallery ...

    Good Day ...

  • Saypoint zone 6 CT
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I have never hosted a garden tour myself, but my friend tells me her neighbor had a house and garden tour and she bought new furniture for it!!!
    The local historical society asked me if I would put my house on their home tour next fall, but I don't think I want a lot of strangers shlepping through my house looking at my stuff.
    Maybe if I ever get the gardens in shape, they'll ask me again for a strictly outdoor tour.
    Jo

  • royross
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    To address your question, we were hosts on a garden tour last year, and I say 1) Do all you can between now and the tour to clean the garden of weeds and trash 2) Water, trim and prepare your plants for best short term showing 3) Label as many plants as you can, with common and botannical names, 4) Print a handout for the guests of every plant that you want to draw to their attention, making it so as to lead them about the garden as you want 5) Have a little refreshment, like lemonade, or maybe a juice that's different but that you know is good. Good Luck Roy

  • ginger_nh
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Yeah, some people spend so much time and money redoing their homes and/or gardens for tours. But I guess it is probably worth it in the end if your property is improved and you are happy with it. Having people tour your garden seems a safer prospect than having them go thru your home - I agree with Jo.

    Do you have plans for much renovating or change to get the gardens ready for the tours, spectre, or are things pretty well set?

    G.

  • royross
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    And 6) If you have gardening friends who know their plants and gardening, try to get a few to act as docents to be about the garden and answer visitors questions. Roy

  • spectre
    Original Author
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hello All:

    Roy, that was epic advice, thank you for the tips. We've started this weekend (though the first tour is May 1), cleaning dead leaves, picking up the crud that doesn't look like mulch, pruning cold-damaged foliage, feeding, etc. Between the flu, indoor projects, and business travel, this is the first chance I've had to work in the garden for about 2 months. One saving grace about a tropical garden are that overgrown plants is a plus; the effect I try to achieve is that of a controlled jungle. I still need to produce labels and weed the parts of the garden that are "under construction," but other than that we should be ready.

    As far a renovations to the existing garden, a few groundcovers did not receive enough water so I am in the process of replacing them. As any gardener knows who visits nurseries frequently, one always buys things they have no idea where to put. I have one such mini-nursery in my backyard, so I don't foresee having to buy too many plants to complete the job. Another bonus about using bromeliads and ferns as understory: they're always pupping, so I just divide it and fill a bare spot somewhere else. I may stick a bunch in a huge bag with cut apples for a week to force blooms since people like to see flowers more than foliage. Things that have to happen in the garden probably will take another weekend, maybe two to complete and then I'll be ready (except the signs, etc.)

    Major renovations that would have occurred whether I had the tour or not will be completing that bridge in the other thread and grading. I also have to lay down about 85' of pavers and that area and mulch heavily. The tours force me to try and finish them before people come here.

    Thanks again for the tips, Roy. Lurkers and regular contributors: please keep them coming.

    spectre

  • spectre
    Original Author
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Roy:

    Sorry for the double post, but Roy was posting while I was writing my last one.

    The fundraising group that's sponsoring the tour is providing people to guide the visitors, direct parking, etc. They say the DH and I don't even have to be there, but I will to make sure no one tramples anything. . . I've heard horror stories about missing tags, broken plants, etc.

    spectre

  • ginger_nh
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Spectre-
    This will be great thread if you keep letting us know what you are doing right up to and including the days of the tours and afterwards - as Miss Rumphius has been doing on the LD and PG forums concerning her NJ flower show installment. Lets readers in on the day to day preparation for these hort events.

    This is garden renovation and rejuvenation, too; looking at the garden with a practiced eye, then adding and/or deleting to have it at its best for the event.

    G.

  • momcat2000
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    i'm in the same boat. by process of elimination (as in, i've run out of excuses why i can't) my garden will be on the local neighborhood tour at the end of june. i have mentioned on other posts, my biggest challenge is the double goal blacktop basketball court which takes up about one third of the back yard. i won't be buying anything new, but i will be building some new planter boxes, repairing patio furniture, a touching up some paint, really nothing i didn't have planned already.......

  • ginger_nh
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Margie-
    Do your boys still use the basketball court? What are you going to do with it? I have an article somewhere that I saved - a gardener laid down gravel on a blacktop basketball court, planted some groundcover sedums but basically used the area for a container garden - it was magnificent. Also, Beth Chatto's famous English gravel garden was built on a blacktop parking lot. But you probably already know these things.

    G.

  • Cady
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Momcat and Ginger,I used pea gravel to "get rid of" a concrete parking pad and some extra driveway I don't use. It makes a big difference in appearance. And, it's easy to take care of. You can put planters on it, benches, anything. A leafblower and rake removes the organic debris that inevitably ends up there, and any weeds that try to get in there are easy to remove.

  • spectre
    Original Author
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hello:

    OK, Ginger, I'll keep a mini-journal here and let you know how it goes, but I have a feeling it'll be incredibly boring.

    You know something like, "Captain's Log, Stardate 2918. . . errrrr . . .wrong thread, sorry. March 4, 2004: mulched area near heliconias and found bottle with deteriorated note inside. Looks like it's signed by someone named 'Gilligan.' Now who the heck names their kid, 'Gilligan'?"

    I'll keep you in the loop.

    spectre

  • mjsee
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Not to answer FOR Margie--BUT--if she's got teen boys, in Indiana-they still use that court. Heck, half the NEIGHBORHOOD probably uses that court! Basketball is a RELIGION in Indiana...and as such, her court will be the highlight of the tour. All the husbands who got "dragged along" (gross generalization) will probably put together a pick-up game.

    My DH is from KY--almost as bad as Indiana, when it comes to b-ball.

    melanie

  • catkim
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I experienced my first garden tours last spring in the San Diego area, and there was quite a range of presentations.
    Labels: I appreciated being able to find names of roses, for example, without bothering the busy hosts. But labels can be a distraction, too. The printed handout, perhaps with an aerial-view plan with special plants noted by number, and a corresponding list works well.
    Debris: Every garden I visited must have been vacuumed early that morning! Even the most unrestrained garden was totally cleaned up, and I was so impressed. That has to put a lot of pressure on the host.
    Format: Most of the tours were outdoors only, but one recently remodeled cottage (a perfect little jewel box made of stone) was open for visiting. I kind of cringe at the idea of herds of strangers tromping through my garden, and indoors would be worse, but I also admired the hosts for their kindness and generosity in doing so.
    Refreshments: Most had none; a few did cookies and juice. One went all out with napkin-lined baskets of baked goods, coffee, and juice all set out as if for a private party. It was nice, but unnecessary.
    Most memorable moment: I approached Pat Welsh (well-known SoCal garden book author) to ask about an especially stunning plant in her garden. She told me the name, then asked me if I wanted one. Then she promptly dug a seedling out of the ground and gave it to me! It made my day. So if you have something that reproduces prolifically, have a few offspring on hand to pass out to people who express unusual interest. You will be unforgettable!

    Is this the Garden Conservancy Open Days you're doing? I'd love to see your jungle!

  • Barbara_Schwarz
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Spectre,

    I know my husband (he's the tropicals fanatic) would love to see your garden, as would I. Is it is open to all or is it a private function? If it isn't private, would you mind giving a little information as to where to purchase tickets, etc to either tour? From the pics you posted it'd be well worth the commute, and we have family down your way so it sounds like a perfect excuse for making the trip.

    Barbara

  • spectre
    Original Author
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi Catkim:

    Thank you so much for the insight. That's really valuable information and really appreciate it!! Will you be at tonight's Hort Society? If so, let me know!

    There are two tours so far, one to benefit the AAUW (American Association Of University Women) to help fund scholarships and another that Evelyn Weidner is heading up for a community resource center. The garden was discovered a little late for the Garden Conservancy, but it's up for consideration next time they tour in my area, which most likely will be 2006.

    The garden will also be featured in an upcoming San Diego Home & Garden Lifestyles and SD Home. Again, thanks for all of the advice, Catkim.

    spectre

  • catkim
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    spectre: tonight I'll be at the Rhonda Vincent and the Rage bluegrass concert at the La Paloma theater. Sorry, some things override gardening (but not many). I may try to catch the meeting with the salvia lady.

  • momcat2000
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    thanks melanie, i couldn't of said it better......

  • nandina
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    spectre,
    You have keyed into an important point. Usually garden tours are fund raising events for charitable organizations. When a gardener accepts the challenge of opening up his house and/or yard to the public the sponsors trust the participants to put on their best 'bib and tucker'. It is a lot of work to prepare one's garden for a tour. Good ideas given to you above.

    Two years ago there was a mansion garden open in my city for a tour. The property has a long southern heritage plus it is a favorite spot for the many movie companies that film here. The owner did zero to prepare for the hordes of visitors who took a quick pass through the yard jumping over multitudes of dog doo doo, fighting their way through untrimmed hedges, etc. and leaving quickly. I felt sorry for the sponsors of the event.
    But, on the same tour a beautiful new home built in the plantation style with accurate replicas of early gardens was open. Gardens stretched along the bank of a tidal river. The owner had all in readiness for the tour a week before the event when a neep tide rose that night and killed off everything in the extensive lower garden and lawns. She poured thousands of dollars into replacing soil, sodding lawns and replanting in the space of a few days to have everything perfect for the garden tour. All was in pristine readiness for visitors. She was a charming southern hostess. I would have been a basket case!

  • Cady
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Wow. Forget it, then. I'd never be able to convince my pet turkey to stay in the barn that day, and while she is quite harmless, she does tend to scare the bejeebers out of unsuspecting visitors to my garden...

  • spectre
    Original Author
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    After reading these stories of neep tides and dog poop and pristine readiness and tyrranical turkeys, I have one last question to you. Do any of you living coastal north San Diego County have a garden you'd like to open to the public for a good cause? Anyone? Puhleeeeze? Mother?size>

    spectre

    P.S.: Barbara, assuming I go through with it , both are public events. And thank you for your kind words about my garden.

  • mjsee
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Spectre--it will be fine. These are the gardeners versons of the "childbirth stories" veteran moms feel compelled to share with first-time pregnant mothers. I'll tell you the same thing I told my little sisters when they'd been terrorized--just substitute "being on the garden tour" for the word "birth":

    Giving Birth (being on the garden tour)is the some of the hardest work you will ever do--and the most satisfying. Don't worry--you'll be fine. And when you are finished, you will have a beautiful baby (garden) and a sense of accomplishment like no other. And you'll swear you'll NEVER do it again--but you probably will.

    melanie

  • ginger_nh
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Great analogy, Mel. You are such a good Mom . . .
    G.

  • chickadeedeedee
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Congratulations Spectre for having your garden chosen!

    There have been so many great suggestions to help you make a grand day for all.

    Before the migraine medication brain cloud nestles in my cranium here are three more suggestions.

    For the most part especially crowds can be slobs. Maybe place a few baskets to serve as waste recepticals in your garden so you can avoid major clean-up when they are all gone?

    I don't know if you have a water feature with fish or other aquatic life. If you do, perhaps post a small NICELY worded sign nearby asking people not to toss in coins as it may harm the fish. Rather, they can "make a wish" and donate to the charity in the little wishing well or empty coffee can near the refreshment area.

    Lastly, if there are people disrespecting your garden, have your phaser set on STUN, take care of the problem discretely, and have them beamed up and out of the way.

    Oh oh. The clouds are moving in. Take care. Hope this helped some.

  • Cady
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I am happy to lend a tryrannical trio of turkey and two geese, if anyone needs a hand (or a beak or bill). They do a great job keeping visitors away from the out-of-bounds areas.

  • momcat2000
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    maybe i should have a few gin and tonics before the tour, that ought to get me through the day.........i was thinking about sponge painting a patio area on the black top (away from the b-ball court of course) sort of a spectator area to watch the games, with an umbrella, chairs, some tables and of course, a cooler full of G+Ts....

  • bahia
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Spectre,
    I have usually had a couple of garden tours in my own personal garden each year, as well as some of my design client's gardens. The idea of having signs out for the plants most likely to generate "what's that Plant called?", will save your voice at the end of the day, and allow you to entertain more interesting questions than repeating yourself endlessly. I personally don't bother to label plants in my own gardens, as I feel it does detract from the experience. As to the public damaging your garden, this has only been a problem for me in areas which have constricted access within the garden, and 150 people are trying to see the garden over the course of the day, with up to 50 people at a time in my rather tiny backyard. Somehow it all works out, but groundcovers on narrow paths can get trampled, and I would make an attempt to clear how hazards or delicate plants from such locations to avoid regrets later.

    People on tours benefitting the Garden Conservancy and the Park Day School Tours, as well as for the California Horticultural Society and your local San Diego Horticulture Society have all been quite gracious guest in my own garden here in Berkeley. No problems except that it can get pretty crowded with 50 people in a small 40' by 60' backyard crammed with a jungle of plants. It will definitely help if you can have one or two other people to answer questions located throughout the garden during the tour, and give them name tags to identify them as assistant help.

    Most importantly, if parking is difficult in your neighborhood, do let the neighbors know that you will be having an event that day, and give them your telephone number to call if they have problems with people blocking their driveways, etc. Use ballons or signs at the street/curb to help people find your location, and remember to invite your neighbors to the event as well, and thank them afterwards for their patience.

    Also, don't stress too much about having a spotless garden, especially if your forte is the variety of plants and the general "feel" of the garden. People will also love and remember your garden fondly if you do have give away plants available the day of the event. You might also consider having some plants for sale as an additional opportunity to raise funds for the charity involved, but this will most definitely require a second person to assist you the day of the event.

    Here is hoping your events go off well, the weather is good, and you haven't had some natural calamity like a freeze, mudslides of Santa Ana winds wreak havoc right before the event! In my own case, it has usually been sneaky raccoons tearing up the bromeliads before a tour. As a result, I now get endless questions as to why I have black plastic bird netting draped all over the garden during tours. (I find besides helping protect the plants from further damage, it makes cleaning up fallen leaves trapped between thorny leaves much easier to deal with...)

    As to not being prepared enough before the tour, this is almost an impossibility for most of us. I have never had a tour event where I wasn't doing clean-up last minute right before the first guests arrive, or setting out the tropical flowers in large pots throughout the garden, etc.

  • spectre
    Original Author
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Bahia, I was warned about warning my neighbors so that will be covered, but the advice is epic.

    Again everyone, especially ChickaDDD and Bahia since they posted since I was last on, thank you and I can't begin to tell you how valuable your suggestions are. I can't thank you enough and I am humbly in your debt.

    spectre

  • mjsee
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    momcat--G&T's sound like a plan! I like the sponge painting idea--what colors would you use?

    Spectre--all will be well. I promise.

    melanie

  • momcat2000
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    i did it on my side concrete patio a few years back. spunged on a terra cotta color, then, took a rectangle shaped sponge and did brown to look like bricks. fools the eye until you get real close and then it still looks real good. used left over latex paint. i'll do a better surface prep job this time because the area will not be sheltered like the patio.

  • mdvadenoforegon
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    The Garden tour guide...
    With guest speaker on Pruning.

    {{gwi:1186380}}{{gwi:1186382}}

  • spectre
    Original Author
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Mario:

    Welcome back. Now that's classic! Skip-ppppperrrrrr!

    spectre

  • phrago
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I was approached by the local garden club to be on the annual tour and reluctantly agreed last year. To my surprise, this was a very pleasant and uplifting experience, and I didn't have any damage or disrespectful guests, quite the contrary. It was a lot of work to get the garden ready, but it did elevate my thinking to a new level. My suggestions: Invite a person from the garden group hosting the tour to come over and walk the yard to look for problem areas where someone might trip or step awkwardly and fall. My yard is on many different levels, and though I am used to it, visiters busy looking at different areas of the garden, may not even notice a small dip in the land or loose stones on a path. It is helpful to have a person not familiar with your property to assist in identifying problem spots. Second, clean the yard of all debree, including bags of soil, pots, extra furniture, toys, anything that is not part of the garden. A video camera can be very helpful in identifying problem areas. Film the whole garden from different angles and look at the tape a few times. It is amazing how different your garden will look on tape, plus you will have the option of refering to the tape instead of relying on your memory when planning changes (especially at night when you are obcessing about it). Make a list of the what needs to be done and what plants you are going to need to fill sparse areas and take the list with you when you go shopping! Try to have everything planted two weeks before the tour date so the plants can settle in. Plan on hose watering the garden before and during the tour. Work out a way that you can do this without having your hose being a problem. If the weather is hot the day of the tour your garden will go limp in the middle of the afternoon. Take a shower and get dressed first thing when you get up on tour day, or you may find yourself still in your pajamas out in the garden fussing when your guest start to arrive (this is a confession). I did have a garden buddy, who was familiar with the plants in my garden, come over and hang out in the lower garden which was helpful and fun for her, plus allowing me to be in other areas to answer guestions. I found that visiters stayed longer and enjoyed the garden more when I spoke to them and pointed out some of my favorite plants. It was a great experience that I would do again, in five years...

  • spectre
    Original Author
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hello Phrago:

    Thanks for the advice . . . I think. Two months to go and I'm already getting prepped and I had the committee checking things out. No major issues were found, except I have so many paths, they were confused as to which way to guide the visitors.

    Phrago, all I can say is what I have I gotten myself into?

    spectre

  • mdvadenoforegon
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    How to prepare?

    If you have coffee ready for me, and a friendly smile - I'll consider you a success.

    (nice time to buy and plant a dozen specialty plants too)

    Have you considered asking a garden-art craftsman if they would like to display crafts in your garden during a tour?

  • Cindi_KS
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Great garden tour/childbirth analogy, Mel. So true, and what memories it brings back!
    Our garden has been on tours several years, and this year I get to recruit tour hosts. I will be honest with them and give them the good with the bad. There is much more good. One issue is a closing time for the garden. Gardeners love to talk, and some will hang around until midnight if you let them, even with posted hours. At all times, you need at least 2 adults hosting. Be prepared for children who must use your bathroom. Very frail or overweight people sometimes insist they can move a barrier and walk across a pond gangplank. Overly helpful gardeners will insist on deadheading your daylilies that you are hybridyzing. People will argue that coins in water never hurt a fish (aaarg!) Guests will bring children who will feel free to cross over to your neighbors' play equipment. Last year, we built a waterfall from a tree into our pond, and people not only stuck their heads under it, but some drank it! I had to point out that it was recirculated pond water--ewwww! You'll endure comments like "wow, you must have lots of time on your hands or a full time gardener" No...I just don't park in front of the tv every night...then I do some quick lessons on composting and soaker hoses versus mowing and weeding.
    In addition to labeling unusual plants, you might want to print up a list of plants and sources. I used to do quite a bit of trading on the gardenweb exchange forum, so my yard is full of plants not available (and not hardy) in this area. I potted up seedlings and divisions ahead of time to give away, and had a trade list available to selectively hand out. some of the big hits were heirloom plants and the very new. We had a photo album showing the progress of the yard in the 4 years we've been here, because it looks very established. A complaint many tourists had was some yards looked like they were planted last week. Had to laugh...some were! The homeowners got insecure about what they had and tried to "buy" an instant garden, and it showed. I would suggest you don't put in anything new in the month before the tour. Have potted plants ready to move in empty spaces. Neighborhood boys searching for a baseball flattened some of my perennials the day before tour started last year, and I had to fill in with large planters set into the flower bed, and no one knew the difference there.
    Our tourists appreciated the igloo full of iced tea. One igloo was enough for the 250+ people we had each day. Every year, I get a few thank you cards in the mail in the weeks afterwards, and once, a lady brought me a new plant I didn't have as a thank you gift. All in all, it is tremendous fun if you are prepared for it. Make a plan to finish last minute work 2 days before so you can go into it well-rested. I still run into people at various places who remember me and my garden, because I took the time to talk to them. It really gives you a boost!
    Cindi

  • mich_in_zonal_denial
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Cindi,
    Great tips.
    I have two tours this summer and a photo shoot.
    I never thought about handing out a resourse sheet. That info will definitely come in handy.

    Thanks.

  • phrago
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Spectre, you will do fine and afterwards you will think that all the work and preparation was fun. One of the garden club women, that came over to the house on the pretour, told me, "Its all good stuff. After all, its just a bunch of gardeners coming over that are excited to be able to view someone elses yard and look at plants. You'll have a great time, and they will love your yard. Its a positive experience." And she was right!

  • angiebeagles
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Dear Everyone,
    I am so glad that everyone has posted, and i have read this thread. I never thought about what it would be like on the other side of the tour (being only a "tourist"), so i now appreciate things more. I will also begin to send thatnk you cards, etc. What a great thread this has been!
    Cindi in KS- what a good idea about the photo album- i'm starting my gardens this year, and will have to do that. Thanks everyone! Angie

  • Lucky_Beginner
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I'm one of the "Lurkers". First time to post but I couldn't hold back on this one. We have a weekend of garden tours put on by our local "Herb Garden Club". But it's not just of herb gardens it's of various gardens. We pay a set price for tickets and after paying you get a list of where the gardens and houses are located. (Usually around 10 different places.) It's great! I've gone for the past 5 years and look forward to every year. Margie don't worry about the basketball goals. I went to one yard that had the most beautiful plants, yard and paths. The court was on one side of the yard and for the day they took several planters of flowers and arranged them around the poles. Along the outside of the court they had placed a couple of wicker chairs with a little table between them. The court was not distracting in any way...just made you think while the boys played basketball...the parents gardened. Real serene and family oriented. I know you and Spectra and anxious about your "Big" day. Every year at one house the herb garden has mint tea made up and served cold but uniced in little 4 ounce paper cups. So refreshing! I think weeding and replacing mulch just gives every garden a "clean" look. I know from experience that I also see a plant that I'm not familiar with and it sometimes takes forever to talk with the homeowner to find out what it is. A "helper" is great to have in times like this or even a layout of some of the plants with names will save your voice a lot. Just wanted to reassure you to also enjoy the time and take a look of what your hard work has done to provide such peacefulness to all that attend.

  • momcat2000
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    the garden tour countdown, 8 days and counting.....i have one more weekend to do the final weeding. since we last talked, i have made new planter boxes for the deck rails, painted the floor of the front porch, repaired and repainted the wood patio furniture, cleaned out, mulched and made stepping stones for the back of the garage (i just know someone is gonna look back there) painted my concrete patio under the pergola and faux painted a brick finish. the major challenge at my house is adding color to a large dark brick 1927 four square. i have picked an accent color of dark green, so through the years i have added dark green porch valances, painted the porch floor dark green, mello yellow patio furniture and house trim, dark green planter boxes and shutters. i use an accent color of pink for pillows and flowers.i got to get some pictures loaded someday.....

  • RckyM21
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    When no one is looking or before the guests arrive I'd recommend disturbing any plant that exudes a pleasant scent. Herbal gardens especially!! Use youre imagination. The key is to have the sense of smell heightened to new levels.Only last for a flleting moment on windy days. Such as a mint patchÂs smell permeating the space for long enough while the guests never know mans hand was involved. He. he. he. he. he : )

    Then serving mint solar tea.

    The will of the gardener making smell a part of experience I hope is seen as good.

    Maybe cheating but I think its fun. Gardens are akin to poetry, paintings and drama. All formal arts have an allowance for a little fantasy. Kept magical and unknown as to its creation.

  • mjsee
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Momcat--you are amazing. What did you finally decide to do abouthte half-court? I'm thinking about you!

    melanie

  • momcat2000
    18 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    i'm going to set my fire pit, small patio tables and metal motel chairs in an arrangement on the court so it won't look too "hardscape" my husband is taking one son camping so i'll have to think of something to do with the other 4. i think one is going to sell sodas....

  • westwood_2006
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi all im new to this site , My garden is rare here in oregon I have the regular Veggy garden all organit pest control are all Good bio bugs mantids and lady bugs and nemotods.. but my back yard is a treat.. citrus palms bananas and some very rare plants .. some from africa like the Afrcan queen that changes color in the sun light.. and the chineese holly hock Tree thats Varigated.. I also have a cherimoya and well started out mothers day a lady was looking for a plant for her daughter and couldnt find it in the grocery store .. i asked what she was looking for and she said a house palm well i had a small palm and offered it to her she came over and Wow what a treat this little old lady is a biologist and has 4 books out .. told me the plants i have growing do Not live in Oregon .. so i asked her not to tell them .. Now im learning alot Tammy

Sponsored
FineLine Kitchens, Inc.
Average rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars79 Reviews
Award Winning Kitchen & Bath Design Center Serving the DMV Area