slideshow: june 7 garden-tour

succulent potRECIPE FOR A GARDEN TOUR: Shop ahead, then carefully clean and prep all ingredients and surfaces. Preset sky for sunshine; turn humidity and heat to low. Add the zest of one jumbo pop-up nursery to the driveway. Open gates, and layer on just enough visitors. Yield: A successful June 7 Garden Conservancy Open Day. The highlights:

plant saleFirst, giant thanks to Broken Arrow Nursery for creating the pop-up shop (above–before plant-mad shoppers bought three-quarters of it!); and to Laura Palmer of the Garden Conservancy for helping me get 350ish visitors acclimated–and for managing the national network of several hundred private gardens who open in 30-plus states each year, in the Conservancy’s Open Days program. I’m proud to have participate for about 18 years of the 20 they have been doing it (and am open again August 16 and September 20 this year).

Thanks also to Carol Gracie, whose spring wildflower lecture down the road at the local church was a big hit.

I can’t really capture the in-person experience of touring my hilly, 2.3-acre place for you here, so instead I try to show what people asked about, in the slideshow below. Things like the ultra-fragrant and chaming flowers of the American fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus, below) that they found along the way on their walkabouts.

male flowers chionanthus virginicusopen day slideshow

HOW THE SLIDESHOW WORKS: Simply hover your cursor over the right side of the first image, and an arrow for navigation will display; use it to move from slide to slide. Note: A few are vertical images (you can tell which by the shape of the thumbnail), so even better with those is to click on the photo, and it will pop up full size on your screen, with its caption beneath. You can also watch the whole slideshow by clicking on the first image, and popping it up onto your screen, and navigate slide to slide from there.

  1. Lissa P says:

    Thank-you, Margaret, for posting such beautiful pictures so soon after your open day. I had been looking forward to it all weekend. I regret I live so far away and cannot visit myself.

  2. Craig says:

    Hi Margaret,

    My wife and I were first time visitors to your garden and had a lovely time. Favorite plants were the purple-leaved beech at the top of the garden (hers) and the rosemary willow near the terrace (me). At least that’s what I’d tell someone. But my actual favorite would be the green-leaved maple (Japanese?) opposite your driveway because it reminds me of a favorite tree from another life and garden. The beech is not hardy for us but I bought a junior-sized willow from Broken Arrow. Our favorite planting combination was the blue Iris nestled between a tall gold-leaved Spiraea and another gold-leaved plant (which I regret that I didn’t ID it but I took a picture).

    Other likes. The Euphorbia (thank you for IDing it) and its staking. So simple and clever. The small patch of pink wildflowers (Erigeron?) left unmowed in the lawn above the Buddha pond. The multitude of maples in pots (thank you for explaining how they’re overwintered). The intimate circular lawn surrounded by a plethora of foliage color, texture, shapes and sizes that was opposite where you were “stationed”. Your deer fence and main gate. The little copper stakes used to gently guide guests. The dill in the vegetable garden. The scrumptious pots of perfect black pansies greeting everyone. (Is there a story behind them – source of the plants or at least the varietal name, quantity per pot, do you deflower them, how long in the season will they last?) The slabs of bluestone pavers leading up to your house. The second utility gate by the compost pile.

    I was the visitor (Sakata guy) who asked about your Asian pear espalier. Here’s a list of additional questions that we wondered about. Perhaps one or more could be future topics:

    Water and watering. Are you on a well? If so, where is the well head located and how deep is your well pump? Do you water your lawn and other plantings during dry spells? Do you have an in-ground watering system or is it all hoses? There were newish plantings above the purple Beech. How do you water them? It seemed like a long reach for a hose.

    Ponds. How deep are your ponds? Were they hand-dug or was machinery used? Are they spring-fed or do you need to occasionally top them off? Do they have natural bottom or were liners used?

    Mowing. What do you use for mowing? It looks like a combination of walk-behind and rider. Are the grass clippings left in place? How often do you mow?

    Upper lawn area above the Buddha pond. What is the story regarding the solar cells on the tall pole in the upper lawn? Any thoughts of putting in a dry or gravel garden? Just above the Erigeron looks like it could accommodate one and be stunning – various Verbascums and Phlomis would be stellar.

    Miscellaneous. How would you describe your native soil in regards to clay, sand, rockiness, ph? Do you have helper bees or assistants to aid in the maintenance? Do you have cable internet or satellite?

  3. Henry says:

    Happy Birthday Margaret! Hoping to get up to see your garden in September. From your photos things are looking great as always.
    Enjoyed the music on your show this morning. It has been a good year so far for the roses, I need to tame mine back. And of course the big root geraniums are thriving too!

  4. Lisa says:

    Beautiful slideshow of your gardens as always! Hoping my daughter and I might get to visit your paradise again soon. Wishing you a blessed birthday filled with gardening peacefulness!

  5. Brenda Reiss says:

    What a glorious, glorious day! We drove up from Millerton through all that spectacular farm scenery then in to the charms of Copake Falls before we got to your place, so we were well primed and in a happy mood. I’d just be echoing everyone else if I raved on about your garden but I’ll just say that here, we could feel the love…. and that’s not something I’d say about some otherwise splendid gardens. Thank you so much!

    1. margaret says:

      Thank you, Brenda, for visiting — and for saying hello here, too. I love the outdoors here and I think it’s a happy place; glad it felt that way to you, too.

  6. Marla Rohwer says:

    An inspiring garden, and a pleasure to meet you Margaret…
    from the woman with the massive arm brace chomping at the bit to get back to gardening.
    Thanks for posting the Fringe Tree!!!
    Just remember…(my mother’s advice)..
    “It gets better every year.”
    Happy birthday,

  7. Marion Kukula says:

    Happy Birthday! Loved the pictures and am tickled to have so many of the same plants—and accidentally in some of the same combinations! Hope to get up to your garden one of these days.

  8. lee says:

    Thanks for the slide show, Margaret! Some day I hope to visit, too, but in the meanwhile you continue to educate and inspire me via this website. I greatly appreciate your efforts and wish you a slightly early birthday greeting!

  9. EMMIE says:

    Ah! To be 60 again! May you have a Happy Birthday and many more. Your slide show is gorgeous. So wish I lived close enough to see it, however, living in the Ozarks ain’t all that bad!

  10. Christine says:

    As always…you are so inspiring! Such a beautiful variety of plants in your garden. Thank you so much for sharing. I would love, love, love to see some recent photos of your vegetable garden too!

  11. Christine says:

    Oh, I forgot to wish you a very Happy Birthday! You are amazing. I can just imagine you in your garden for many years to come!

  12. Joyce Woodard says:

    Happy Bday Margaret. You young thing! You’re positively adolescent.
    Thxs 4 sharing your wonderful pictures. I love your site and always look for it in my in-box.

  13. Jacquie says:

    Happy Birthday, Margaret! With all that garden work, you are in your prime of life and so is your garden. Lovely slide show, many happy returns of this day!

  14. Mary Yee says:

    Happy birthday, Margaret. Loved the slide show! So many beautiful plants and good ideas. I didn’t realize the honeysuckle bloomed this early in the season; always learn something from you.

  15. Joeth says:

    Happy birthday, Margaret — 60 is the doorway to a wondrous decade. Was hoping to get to your Open Day, but a deer leapt out of the woods with designs on the front end of my car, and it it still in the body shop. Love your blog, and am amazed at how much you put into it.

    Many, many happy returns!

  16. Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern says:

    Happy Birthday! So glad to see you celebrating! Love, love, love the garden tour. It is my dream to one day tour live in person. I would have bought half of that nursery in your drive (though I am running out of space). I love your potted plant color combinations. They are the colors I am always drawn to – orange, burgundy/purple, and silver with a splash of blue. Those pancakes look pretty delicious, too. There’s so much to say – so many beautiful things in your garden.

  17. Lisa - Ontario says:

    Thank you for posting your tour in pictures for those of us who can’t get there. I would love to tour your garden someday, but I will have to be retired to fit it into my schedule. There is too much gardening and kayaking to be done to take a weekend for a garden tour.

    Happy Birthday! I just turned 47 and the number really surprises me too. I don’t feel 47, strange that. But then I get on with my life and forget that number again!

  18. Judy says:

    Happy Birthday Margaret,
    I can to your Open House last year and was delighted and inspired. Now when I look at the pictures from this year I can say…”Yep I know exactly where that picture was taken, and it is even lovelier in person!”

    1. margaret says:

      It is nicer in person, Judy — impossible to really explain this hilly, lopsided place on the blog in little photos. Thanks for saying hello today.

  19. Sharon Molnar says:

    That reminds me, I need to fish out the little strawberry pot that was given to me and stick some succulents in it. I’ve got a bunch of other pots filled with various sedum, sempervivum, and Eastern prickly pear.

  20. Lorie says:

    Happy birthday and thank you for sharing such gorgeous sights so quickly. Your space is so inspiring for us wannabees. Your time and knowledge were greatly rewarded after such a miserable winter…must make you smile a lot.

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