By Linda Shepherd
“WOW!” wrote Maryfrances Lignana, “Who knew we had such lovely and thoughtfully created gardens in our neighborhood? What a nice day! Kudos to the planners and preparers.”
Indeed, it was a delightful afternoon of Beauty and community building, organized by two Mirrormont Master Gardeners—Martha Pinsky and me. For many years, I’ve wanted to revive the garden tours. Carol Walker originally started the event in 1990, but they lapsed after she moved away. So, I was thrilled when Martha said she’d love to help me revive the Tour of Gardens.
Tourists met on August 5th at the Pea Patch to tour our community garden, then carpooled to six gardens:
- Doug & Susan Navetski’s Haven for Privacy, Fragrance, and Edibles.
- Vicki & Chris Renne’s Discovery Garden with a calming Zen waterfall, 26 varieties of Japanese maples, and an exuberant climbing hydrangea.
- Janet & Paul Horton’s Wildlife Sanctuary with ponds, stream, waterfall, and plants to attract wildlife.
- Heather & Adam Bradley’s Plant Hoarder’s Garden with rare and unusual plants, whimsical glass art, 15-ft lilies, and a stumpery.
- Tom Hurley’s Lazy Man’s Garden Cave with dahlias on steroids!
- Martha & Adam Pinsky’s Walk in the Park, a Master Gardener’s expression of the pleasures of shade gardening.
Next year, we hope to see Lori and Ted Irwin’s Never Say ‘No’ Collection, which had been on the tour before deer ate the collection.
“It’s always great to know what works specifically in our little neighborhood,” said Devon Williams. The gardens provided marvelous ideas for what we can do in our own. I found them inspiring—and sometimes daunting. I sniffed aromatic roses and thought, Nope, deer ate mine. But fencing allows roses to thrive. Those lovely blue-tinted hostas? Slug lunch, I groused. But spreading Sluggo in March results in fewer slugs the rest of the year. Carex ‘Evergold’ is a sedge that adds color to shady areas. Rabbits ate mine, I sighed. But bird netting or black vinyl-coated wire cages can protect vulnerable plants until they can afford to lose a few leaves. At least whimsical garden art sur-vives unmolested!
Native plants, one of my passions, were featured in many of the gardens. Alas, we often take them for granted. But just think, sword ferns sell for $95 each in Amsterdam! Red-flowering currant became such a rage in London that plant explorer David Douglas (of Douglas fir and Douglas Squirrel fame) recouped The Royal Horticultural Society’s investment in his 1824 expedition from this plant introduction alone.
To learn more about how native plants add value to wildlife and landscaping, check out the 40 signs posted in Mirrormont Park or purchase Walk on the Wild Side: Native Plants of Mirrormont Park.
The afternoon ended on Martha’s back deck enjoying wine, snacks, chitchat —and more words of wisdom from our unpretentious gardeners about the joys of gardening.
I fully appreciate what’s involved in creating the beautiful gardens we toured, and we are grateful for all the planting, weeding, design wisdom, and love of plants that made them. Thanks to those who generously shared their gardens with us!
Please let us know if you have a garden you’d like to share with your neighbors, or if you have seen a garden you particularly admire.
Martha Pinsky pauses to point out plants that do well in the shade of her Walk in the Woods garden.