garden-tour aftermath: the asked-about plants

I AM ALWAYS FASCINATED to hear what visitors comment or ask about on Garden Open Days, the first of which was Saturday and bought 275 new and old friends. I make a bet with myself on which plants it will be that rate the most, “What’s that?” or “I love it” reactions–but this year there were a few new ones on me, even after 15 years of hosting visitors. Want to see what got the most attention (besides the cat)?

Saturday’s event included a giant plant sale by Broken Arrow Nursery (shopping in my own driveway?–divine!) and a triple-homicide performance piece by Jack the Demon Cat (in front of large numbers of guests, of course; he loves an audience almost as much as he loves chipmunks).  As ever, my massive stand of common old rhubarb (above) got the most “What is it?” questions of all…but here are the other top contenders:

The Slideshow

Click on the first thumbnail to start the slides, then toggle between images using your keyboard arrows or the ones beside the captions. Links to stories on some of the subjects are included below the slides.

Links to the Favorites

Other Tour Dates: Come Visit!

THE GARDEN will be open on June 2 and August 18, and full details are always in my Events Calendar. See you next time?

  1. Cynthia A. says:

    Someday I hope to make it to one of your garden tours. in the meantime I have a few questions. 1. Is it ok to let rhubarb flower if you want to cut from (and eat it)? 2. I think of the sumac in my yard is a weed, despite Frank Lloyd Wright’s using it as a decorative element in so many of his designs. I’d be interested in more information on sumac in general (perhaps I just have some sort of junk sumac). Do you have a link? Thanks so much. I hope you can put your feet up today and take mini break after all the people and questions.

  2. Kathie says:

    My husband and I had a lovely time touring your garden on Saturday. We even saw Jack with a chipmunk! Everything always looks so beautiful on your blog – but it was even more beautiful in person. Thanks again for sharing your garden.

  3. Tim says:

    Same question as Cynthia. Is it ok to let rhubarb flower if you want to cut from (and eat it)? I already lopped mine off — hope that wasn’t a mistake! Thank you.

  4. Beverly says:

    Conditioned to be alert to homicides in the garden due to my excellent canine huntress, Jasmine, I admit to being really curious about what, and how, Jack killed for his elite audience. Here in PA, Jasmine killed two squirrels, one vole and one baby rabbit in the last 10 days, without too much collateral damage to perennials or terra cotta pots.. Her overall numbers in 5 years are incalculable. Mopping up carcasses is not my favorite garden chore, but knowing the plant damage she has prevented by dispatching these rodents makes me grit my teeth and dash for the plastic bag. Skunks from summers past were my least favorite clean up job, and yes, she got sprayed both times.

    Thanks as always for presenting such a realistic view of the ups and downs of gardening. Glad you had such a good crowd for your Open Day. If I were closer, I’d drop in with some aspirin and a big bar of chocolate for you.

    1. margaret says:

      Hi, Beverly. Three more chipmunks are now headless, thanks to Jack. His instinct knows no bounds, even at age 13ish. He can outrun me, and climb trees taller than the house. Here, I always just put the remnants in an open spot and someone else in the community eats them (raccoons, fox, you name it). Gross, but also very efficient — nothing goes to waste in nature. Nice to see you!

  5. Lisa says:

    My daughter and I had a fabulous time enjoying your gardens on Saturday. This was our second visit as we came last August and you encouraged us to come in Spring! Everything was so vibrant and fresh! An extra bonus was getting to meet Jack up close and personal as he visited with us for a few moments. He is such a sweetie and reminded us so much of a beloved cat we once had. We are grateful to you for opening your garden for ‘Open Days’. Thank you Margaret! :)

  6. Brian G. says:

    Nice of you to give the rhubarb it’s own seat :) I just planted my first this year, ‘Cawood Delight’. Just for looks, very red stalks.

  7. Deb says:

    Lovely photos! I, too, am growing garlic this year. My first time from a pass down gift. Mine is in a raised bed also, and I will watch carefully for posts regarding your garlic harvest – since I don’t have a clue about this next step. Thanks for such a wonderful resource. Because of your suggestions, I purchased bigroot geranium and Will’s Wonderful and this is the second season for both. Will is growing leaps and bounds, however, the geranium is progessing a bit slower.. Many thanks for your kindness because I surely would not have tried these without your encouragement.

  8. Trish says:

    I am so happy to learn that the ‘Tiger Eyes’ sumac is supposed to grow like in your photo – I thought something was wrong with mine.
    Hope to make it to your open garden some day!

  9. Mundi says:

    I’ve been looking for ‘that’ Euphorbia for ages. The only sources that I find are in the UK. Is there a local source or mail order in the US?

  10. Eric says:

    So happy to see your Tiger Eye gold-leaf form of Rhus typhina. I have the same plant as well, all knobby and sideways and lop-sided and cattywampus, and have been certain for years that I planted it poorly/should prune it/neglect it/should check it for disease. But no longer, as it looks almost exactly like yours in every way. I’ll consider it in excellent health despite my lack of your expertise. Or should I…?

    1. margaret says:

      Yes, Eric, you are a master pruner and grower of Rhus like I am. :) Seriously, that’s how it grows, no worry. Love the plant!

  11. Frankenoid says:

    I am amused — the most recent Saturday Morning Garden Blogging entry (to be posted in about an hour) concerns the most-commented upon plants currently blooming in my small urban front yard. Hands down it’s the oriental poppies, and the line of snap peas I plant for all to pick and enjoy.

    I don’t have to have garden tour dates: it’s all out there for every passer by to see.

    1. margaret says:

      Hi, Frankenoid. Too long since I came to say hi, so sorry. Hectic! I should grow them again — haven’t in years, but boy, are they gorgeous. Good reminder.

  12. Sandy says:


    In early summer my husband and I were out for a very long ride, and found your home in Copake Falls. Of course it wan’t one of your open house days so we just peered from the roadside. It killed me to be so close to your beautiful garden and not be able to really view it properly. Hope to attend an open house some time. Just love those chairs. I ordered the plans thanks to you.


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