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?
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.
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.