may 2010 virtual tour: an open day slideshow

RAIN HAD BEEN FORECAST, BUT DIDN’T SHOW. About 250 nice people did (which is actually a pretty quiet tour day here!), and so did a lot of nice plants, who managed in spite of wacky spring weather to hold out for their moment of glory. Second-best to an actual garden visit is a virtual tour, and you’re invited. No excuses! See you there.

The questions outnumbered the people, of course, including “What’s that pink flower?” (above). You’ll have to watch the show to find out.

Start the slideshow by clicking on the first thumbnail, then toggle from image to image using the arrows beside each caption. Enjoy!

Note: A list of links to profiles of the plants I’ve mentioned is just below the thumbnails, if you want to learn more than I can fit in a caption.

Profiles of some featured plants:


  1. Amy says:

    Margaret — Thank you so much for opening up your gardens again this year! Everything looked as beautiful as I remembered it. I especially like your “mourning widow” geranium — masses of petite dark buds. The enormous rhododendron was even more impressive than last year. Very glad we had a few minutes to talk. Already looking forward to 2011!!

  2. I was sad that there was no chance I could attend your garden tour, and here it is! Thank you for that and a few excellent ideas (hostas/heuchera in pots, etc.) I only wish I could have met you in person. But I do feel I know your garden little more after this delightful virtual tour. Thank you!

  3. Maureen says:

    I had to laugh when I looked thru your pics because I have copied so much of what you do…..especially the mosaic underplantings…..I am very proud of myself thanks to you! My big root geraniums came in beautifully this spring, as did my heucheras. Now I’m on a viburnum craze, bought doublefile and cranberry last week…and hope to add a winterthur this week….you’re my best kept secret! Too bad I live so far, I would love to see your garden in person

  4. Barb says:

    Loved the garden tour . . . felt like I was right there. Thanks for sharing with us. I love your photography skills – your garden seems to come alive.

    Finally Indiana has a few nice days after 2nd longest continuous spell of rain in history. It’s a jungle in the yard.

  5. Trudy says:

    You said “No excuses!” but I say “Try to stop me!”. Since I live half a country away I have been eagerly awaiting this slide show. A feast for the eyes. Thank you so much for sharing.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Trudy. Glad to share the pix; I am just running a little n time-delay here. What a hectic month May always is. I’m glad for your visit, even if only virtual. Maybe someday… :)

      @Beth: In the ground somewhere, I’d recommend…doesn’t need to be where there’s any light or anything, since they
      ll be dormant, but in the ground. Any out-of-the-way corner you can turn into your “winter nursery”? I only use the vegetable garden because it’s there, but otherwise I might be inclined to have a strip behind the garage or something just for overwintering like this of dormant, leafless stuff.

  6. Beth says:

    So inspiring! I love the idea of hostas and other perennials in pots but don’t have a vegetable patch to tuck them into for the winter. Any other overwintering suggestions? Thanks.

  7. Lynn says:

    Say Margaret, what joy to get to walk a virtual tour. I love how you show the tiniest viola to the big dawn redwoods. I have employed your hosta pot technique and am so happy about it–nothing died in the veg patch over winter. In fact one little mini hosta that I couldn’t find after the frost stayed in the big stock tank planter close to the house and survived. One day there will be Rosa glauca for me. Thanks for opening your garden to the world.

  8. Aileen says:

    Thanks so much for both opening your garden and creating the slide show! I had a fun time wandering (garden and slides…) and being inspired. Both are just beautiful.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Aileen (and hello to all you other virtual visitors…nice day for a garden tour, huh?). I am glad you enjoyed your wandering, Aileen, and hope it won’t be the last time you visit, or speak up. Thanks for the encouragement.

  9. Bonnie says:

    So sorry I missed your open garden tour, definitely making it next time. Your garden is absolutely gorgeous and so inspiring to see those photos! Wondering if you’ve had any experience with brugmansias and overwintering them inside. I had 2 spectacular ones last summer and I dragged them into the basement for the winter and watered very sparingly. I brought them out about 2 weeks ago, looking quite shriveled. No signs of life yet. I just hope I didn’t kill them. They were so spectacular and I hope they just need time to wake up. Any thoughts?

  10. Terryk says:

    Beth, I have had some hostas returning in the big pots they were planted in last year.

    Margaret is the Chaerophyllum hirsutum ‘Roseum’ a spreader? Just spent the weekend removing some of my thugs and don’t want to keep repeating this-my back can’t take this weeding of the spreaders.

  11. Bobster says:

    Margaret, what are the two sentries posted by the entrance to the veg plot? The pictures are of course beautiful! Was so hoping to make it out again this Spring, but just couldn’t swing it with work. I think of the apple trees out back often. Planning now for the Autumn tour! (the Spanish Bluebells just earned a place on my wish-list!)

  12. Alexa @ Invisible Bees says:

    New item for my bucket list: visit Margaret’s garden, in the flesh. (It’ll be a trek. I live in Colorado. Maybe Trudy and I can carpool.)

  13. Steve Zick says:

    Margaret, I’m so glad I made the trek from Chicago–as fantastic as this blog is, it paled in comparison with the real thing! The only thing missing was Jack–I never did spot him. You are a true colorist, and the overall effect was magical. You’re very kind to wrestle with the convoluted GC paperwork and open your impressive deer gates to let us in. My fave of the day–and I saw some good gardens. Thanks–!

    1. Margaret says:

      @Steve: I didn’t put 2+2 together that it was you! How frustrating — I get so overwhelmed and anxious at the tours, I guess, with all the money-taking and questions and so on. I would have gone and gotten the Demon Cat to make a proper introduction. He was out for awhile but normally I keep him in by day since otherwise he’s inclined to look for birds; I prefer he hunt rodents and the like at night. :)

      @Ewa: None of mine came to me as ‘Cascade,’ but as either ‘Mariesii’ or ‘Shasta’ (I may also have a ‘Watanabe’ here somewhere, I cannot recall…and my straight old V. plicatum tomentosum croaked after like 18 years a couple of years back). Maybe that’s what it is; the flowers are much smaller than all my other doublefiles, so I will have to do some detective work.

  14. Ewa says:

    a-ha! this is your garden where I saw Viburnum plicatum Cascade last year! This year mine is in full bloom as well – it takes 4 years :)

    1. Margaret says:

      @Maureen: I am Zone 5, and I believe they are generally rated more like Zone 7 and warmer, hence the lack here. In the city, I liked them; they are great filler for the dark areas as they will tolerate a great deal of shade. But I cannot grow them, alas. I have seen them overused or badly used — they are pretty busy-looking plants, especially the variegated gold/green ones — but they really brighten up dark spots when used judiciously.

  15. missy from the bayou says:

    Many thanks,Margaret for the lovely slideshow. Your garden is WONDERFUL!!
    I also keep my hostas in pots ( a shocking thing to do here in the South)……hey, I just love to move them around every year and it makes them so easy to separate.
    thanks,again. Missy from the bayou

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Missy. I agree — it’s easy and such fun to have them as portable plants, which makes them seem even more special to me. Glad to meet you, and thanks for coming along on the tour. :)

  16. Fred from Loudonville, NY says:

    Hi There Margaret, it has been a while…Wondered if you went to Trade Secrets??? Looked at Rural Intelligence, and did not see You, or Martha.
    In your silde show (Slide 2), I see you have things that look to have come from Battle Hill Forge. The TOWER, and circles on stakes are SO Israel Fitch. I have one of his towers, and this year bought a wonderful strap metal ORB from him. ???My question to YOU is, What color GAZING BALL will adorn your tower??? (I think the balls were on the No-No list in the past)? I see most people, on Garden Conservancy tours, have stainless on theirs. I have stainless for winter, and an amathyst glass one for summer.
    Looking at your photos, I am JEALOUS of how NEAT, and so far ahead you are with maintenance. With running around, and other things, my garden here at Whimsey Hill House is ONLY half planted, and still WEED FILLED.

  17. Maureen says:

    Margaret, I’m the loon that drove two hours each way to Loomis Creek today to pick up Rosa Glauca after seeing it on your slideshow…so glad I did…it’s beautiful!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Mary Ann. Yes, I think that’s it — I have some in spots where they get less sun and they can flop for sure. I also think they probably want the soil very well-drained/lean. I do love them. Glad to see you, and stop back soon.

  18. Hi Margaret,
    I’m reading your book right now and am enjoying it so much partially because I am attempting to garden for the first time this spring – looking forward to going through your tips online and also finishing your book (while drinking a strong cup of tea of course).

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Melissa, and yes, always a nice cup of tea by my side, too (though I have switched to green, how boring). Glad you are enjoying the book, and also that you found me and the garden blog. Perfect timing with spring unfolding.

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