The Week After the Open Garden


On Thursday I waited until bedtime to write, and then I did the same on Friday. It’s called procrastination, but it’s also called self-care.

It’s been a long week. As many of you know, it’s continued to be cold and wet in the PNW and in addition to the long hours of gardening, and working, I’m recovering. My osteoarthritis is aching, I’m dealing with swelling, and in general I’m pretty tired.

Lathyrus aureus was the most asked about plant in the garden last weekend.

Until you’ve opened up your home to the public, it’s easy to think it’s no big deal. But it is! It’s scary. Yes, you’re opening yourself up for a lot of fun. Random sweet strangers may become friends. You’re going to laugh and chat a lot because you’ll be so tired—but by then you won’t care!

More than anything though, you’re going to worry about the jerks. There will be a few. They’re always there, like weeds. You’ll never be rid of them.

Viola corsica was my favorite plant in the garden this week.

Just know that you don’t need to go through life like them. If you need to visit gardens or judge others to gain some kind of self-esteem, that’s rough. “Not my circus, not my monkeys,” is all I can say to that. Life is short and precious.

Sure, not all gardens are for me, yet I always appreciate the time and energy it takes to open one for nearly nothing in return. It takes a lot of work, and in the end, you’ll have a guest like I did who appeared just before I closed the gate, describing and seeing my garden exactly as it is to me.

She and her young guest were a gift that cold wet day. Be that garden guest.

I told guests that the mirror under the table was used by the cats. When they go to drink water at the bowl, they have a rearview mirror. Here’s Felix just days later “checking his back”.

It was a long week.

It was a relief to have the event come and go.

It was a treat to have the prelude to the next event in a few more weeks.

Oh the anticipation. Yes, I’m a tease.

Pelargonium ‘Colocho’ cuttings paired with Sinningia ‘Shelby’ divisions in a flat at work.

What did I enjoy the most? More than anything I enjoyed telling people about my work. Lots of folks saw my racks of plants and assumed they were all for sale—but they’re not. I’m a propagator practicing my craft at home and it’s fun to share that with others even if they don’t always understand. I guess that’s what the blog is here for and for me to promote what one horticulturist does. Yes, I have collections of plants, and yes, there are breeding projects too. I just don’t advertise all of that.

Unknown Dutch iris I planted years ago. It pairs well with the new Jeep.

Once I get everything planted I plan to take more pics. I will write more about how watering has determined everything.

There will be charts, diagrams, and maps.


Maybe I should just have a few plant lists? Yes.

But now, it’s time to rest.

I just can’t stress enough how much it matters to not care about what other people think, and that if you want to share the work that you do, then go ahead and share it. Gardening matters. Growing plants makes us happy. If the sad people find their way into all of that, then so be it. Let them walk across that stage and exit left, or right, or whichever way folks leave your space.

Any which way works!

I just won’t be the one telling you how to design your space—but I’d happily sit and listen, letting you tell me all about it.

4 thoughts on “The Week After the Open Garden

  1. Gardens are a reflection of our personalities so it’s almost like putting yourself up for inspection. True gardeners can relate to this so just enjoy what you have created. Always tell my students it doesn’t matter what anyone else says. If you like it then that’s perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember the first time I opened my garden, thankfully it was for a small group (just 4) because that helped me build my courage for the next time, when around 400 people came through. What a blur that experience was. It’s hard to not care what people think, but an admirable goal. I feel fortunate to have watched your garden (and you) change over the years!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed. It’s really impossible to not care, but seeing those folks more as weeds now will help me to not angry about it. (Oh weed! Time to pluck it! Bye bye!) Most folks likely have no clue how much I can rage. I should craft that into a gardening post because it actually can be helpful. First I need to get through the exhaustion.


  3. Thanks for sharing your experience with opening up your garden for the public. The scary or uncertain part is real for many people, but you did that with health issues on top of it. That’s amazing to me.

    “Yes, you’re opening yourself up for a lot of fun. Random sweet strangers may become friends.” – I never experienced that with the 3 or 4 garden tours my last home’s garden was on when I lived in Albuquerque. Only 2 people were a bit uppity, and I answered them directly but politely, and they shrunk off. I still get mileage and laughs out of what they said!

    But so many others – people who went got ideas, enjoyed my garden FAQ handout and plan board. Plenty of retirees to younger families, even tourists talked with my then-wife and I. Over the next several years I even saw some designs out and about town, that clearly used design ideas and plants like I had or from my other projects. And if there’s a next time at my new home, it’s maps and diagrams plus an FAQ!

    Someday, I’ll get to see your garden in person, and that’s the best part.

    Liked by 1 person

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