Well, friends, after months of anticipation and preparation, the Arkansas Master Gardener garden tour has come and gone. Whew! Now that I’ve had a minute to sit back and think about it, I scribbled down a few random notes about the whole fabulous experience.
Gardening is one of our favorite hobbies, so in a way, we’ve been preparing to be on this garden tour since we bought our property in 2014. But, as soon as we officially agreed to participate in this year’s state garden tour, we began honest-to-goodness planning. The end of winter seemed a very long wait. We pulled weeds between snowfalls and counted down to the last frost date when the real fun could begin.
Hard to believe this photo was taken only two months before the garden tour!
Get ‘er done!
The thing about agreeing to be on a garden tour is we were compelled to finish all those projects we’d been putting off. Two major projects we tackled included redesigning our compost bins and addressing our broken water feature.
I discussed how we repurposed our broken water feature in my last Sunday Letter, which you can read HERE. Bottom line, we converted it to a raised planter. Later we will probably add a new fountain because we miss the sound of flowing water.
I will soon devote an entire post to our new composting bins because I believe composting is a valuable thing (and our new bins are a work of art, if I do say so).
Make a Plant List.
Whether or not labeling plants is a requirement of the garden tour you are on (our garden tour required it), it’s a good idea to keep a list of the plants growing in your garden, with both common and scientific names. You think you will remember the specific variety of fern purchased last summer, but that detail will disappear from your brain in a snap.
And yes, people will ask…
Allow time to place the markers too. If you have ten Astilbe plants and only one Astilbe marker (one per plant variety), placing it in the most visible garden spot can be tricky.
This is what 110+ plant labels look like…
Plan a Garden Route.
When you have 150 people touring your garden, it’s a good idea to have an entrance and exit plan to avoid bottlenecking.
Don’t ignore the small things.
Clean and refill bird feeders. Trim low-hanging branches. Edit crowded plants so that each shines. Deadhead spent blossoms. Sweep porches. Rake gravel. Power wash surfaces.
I could go on and on.
What gets done will be great, what doesn’t won’t matter. A garden is always evolving which means it is never finished.
Most Asked Questions from Garden Tour Visitors:
- What variety is this hosta?
A huge one.
See, I’m not good at remembering varietals. I think it’s Empress Wu.
- Do you have a yard person?
No. John and I do all the gardening. (Two friends did help us weed one afternoon last week. Thank you Kristi and Jill!)
- Where did you get this gravel?
Schwartz Stone Company in Springdale.
- How long have you lived here and when was your house built?
- What variety is this iris?
Come Away With Me Bearded Iris. (I only recently identified this one’s name.)
- What type dogwood is this?
It isn’t a dogwood. It’s a Korean Spice Viburnum.
- Where do you buy plants?
White River Nursery; Westwood Gardens; Sharum’s; from the Arkansas Master Naturalists’ plant sales. And many of our plants are passalongs from friends.
Take Lots of Pictures
Now that the beds have all been weeded and the plants are looking spiffy, be sure to take lots of pictures. In two days when the next blowing storm sweeps through, the petals on the peony will scatter, the weeds will blossom, and more twigs than seem possible will liter your lawn. You’ll be glad you have pictures of that single glorious garden tour day.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.