My attempt to move from Southern California and create a happy and sustainable urban homestead in North Dakota, with some musings on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.



Sunday, September 23, 2012

Grand Forks Garden Tour

The Grand Forks Horticulture Society had their Annual Garden tour back in late July and I'm just getting around to posting pictures of it now.   Better late then never?  But there's a slew of good reasons why it took me so long.  One reason is that I just didn't know how to put into words the awesomeness of one garden that we saw, everything I wrote just never seemed to do the place justice. 

Whenever Alycia and I go on garden tours (usually with her parents) we get numerous ideas, plants we "have" to get, and other cool things we'd like to try to investigate and hopefully replicate.  But I typically have reservations about so many of the gardens we visit.  So many gardens on tours the last few years were newly built McMansions with gardens that were wonderfully planned and planted by an expert landscaper, and they looked it.  They had all the elements of a "great" garden, but lacked passion, soul, and a genuine quality that seems so very intangible and difficult to grasp.  The first garden we visited on our tour was great, but it was probably 75% annuals and as I toured around I couldn't help but wonder what it looked like on the years when it wasn't featured on the garden tour when all that effort to plant annuals wasn't expended.  Was this just a show put on for the garden tourers? a decorated outdoor room (which isn't really a garden at all) spiffed up for visitors?
But all of a sudden, BAM!!!  Magic.  The third garden we stopped at was possibly the most amazing one I have ever visited.  These are all pictures from one house and one garden, and only the backyard, I was too flabbergasted with joy to take pictures of the front yard.  The owner not only graciously let us take lots of pictures but chatted with us for quite some time.  The pictures don't do justice to the garden, it was incredible. 

There was the perfect balance of structure/form, heights/textures/colors of plants, very little lawn space, and whimsey/nonsense (which I think is a hugely important characteristic of a great garden).  In fact, if you look really closely at the picture above, just below the blue vase, you can see the tiny plastic dinosaurs that inhabit the area.
To say that I was blown away by this garden was an understatement.  There was so much to take in and look at, so many plants. 
This was a perfect garden, the plants weren't perfectly manicured and dead-headed by any means, and everything was allowed to fill its own space without being crowded or thin looking.  The yard was also pretty small, a 1950's tract home with a corresponding small yard that was indeed smaller than our own.  But that space that was there was put to such good use and there was so much going on, it was hardly noticeable that it was a "smaller" yard.
The owner chatted with us for quite a while, especially after I explained how I wanted to also employ a similar remove-as-much-lawn-as-possible scheme in our yard.  She was more than happy to exchange "lawns are such a waste of time and space and resources" rants with me, and it was great to finally meet a lose-the-lawn gardening role model.
So many wonderful things to take in.  It was truly a masterpiece of a garden. 
I'm not sure why I'm so serious looking in the photo, maybe I didn't want to seem overly giddy at how much fun I was having.

We continued on the garden tour and made another stop or two.  Unfortunately it was hot and (being the delicate flower that I am) we all wilted in the afternoon heat pretty quickly and decided to call it a day.  The memory, pictures, and inspiration from this garden will live on though and continue to encourage me to have our garden be 1/10th as cool as this one.  

1 comment:

Rosemary said...

You're right, this is an amazing garden, full of character, fun, great plantings and planning. I noticed a lot more details when I clicked to enlarge the photos. Got a few new ideas for myself!