on garden visiting: ‘if only…’

new-guySERIOUS GARDEN-VISITING SEASON KICKED OFF for me on Monday, meaning visitors besides the usual amphibian suspects like this guy who wait on the doorstep for me to come play each day. Them I can deal with, but the human types! Yikes. My brain spirals, and I keep hearing the same thought over and again in my head while walking guests around: If only you’d come last week (when the lilacs were still blooming). If only you’d come week after next (when the next wave of perennial geraniums and later alliums are happening, since all that’s happening now are faded early ones of each). Shoulda, coulda, woulda…if only. Seeing the holes, not the whole. Bad girl. And more visitors (you, maybe?) are coming soon. Uh-oh.

On June 14, I’m open for the 10th straight year as part of the Garden Conservancy’s national Open Days program, and though I do feel anxiety each time these days loom, I also love it. Just as each of us learns from visiting gardens, each of us who welcomes visitors learns from the experience. I am regularly startled to see where people wander and what they look at…things I never notice, vantage points I never explore. Gardens all over the country are open, so go visit one. Learn something, and leave some teaching of your own behind. Perhaps my friends the frogs will show you around personally, if they’re in the mood.

  1. Terri Clark says:

    Oh what a pity to miss your open garden and, better yet, meeting you! I just returned from three weeks in Falls Village, Connecticut where we have a little saltbox, but our highlight, as every spring, was the Trade Secrets Garden Show. I thought I might have spyed you at the Loomis Creek display but was not quite sure. I love the Garden Conservancy scheme and always learn something from every garden I visit.
    I wish you fair skys and mild temperatures on June 14.

  2. margaret says:

    Thanks, Terri, for the good words. And yes, that was me with Bob in the Loomis Creek both at Trade Secrets.

  3. Andrew Ritchie says:

    Won’t make it this year, but I can understand the anxiety. When I came in 2005, you were gracious and everything looked beautiful. It was a September tour, so all of the late bloomers were out and the garden was at its ‘heaviest’ in terms of foliage. I’ve described it before as being a truly memorable place.

    For those who plan on going to Margaret’s garden this year, pay attention to texture, colour and the use of special plants in unusual places, the use of grasses in the back field, the little surprises that lurk in the gardens, (old wire headboard and necklace-wearing statues, the water features) and the sounds of the birds and the wind.

    I think of that garden often.

  4. Sogalitno says:

    oh darn. i am out of the country most of June and will be missing your garden as well as many others i really wanted to see.

    hopefully there will be some good ones in ireland.

  5. Bart Z. says:

    I certainly will stop by your wonderful gardens June 14. It’s been a while since I’ve seen your plantings and I’m sure you have interesting new things to see.

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