Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cycling Around Town Visiting Gardens Galore

Our town inaugurated a Garden Tour last year. My girlfriend and I made the mistake of walking house to house. It was fun, but it was July and hot…hot…hot. By early afternoon we found ourselves in the ice cream shop, attempting to cool off and called it quits. We saw about half the gardens.
This year I got smart. I would ride my bike around town. Driving was an option, but a poor one. I could not justify driving a few blocks at a time, attempting to find a parking space, in and out of a hot car all day long. I conned four comrades into joining me – including my hub.
Sometimes it is fun and perhaps necessary to take an entire day to do something different and put aside the worries and responsibilities of the moment. Mother-in-law recovering from a stroke…son’s family of five descending on our small home for three weeks of fun in the sun…work to complete and submit…second son and daughter-in-law due with first baby momentarily…
Early Saturday morning five of us ventured out on our bikes, riding a few blocks to the library where we secured our maps and tickets and were on our way. We decided to start at one end of town and work our way across to the other end. Seventeen gardens were open for our enjoyment.
It was a beautiful sunny day, hot but not unbearable. There was actually a small breeze. We rode the length of the boardwalk to the edge of town to the first garden. We found a surprisingly large garden encompassing the side and back of an early twentieth-century house. Our town has a lot of homes very close together; many have no front yard and/or no back yard or no yard at all. There are a few large homes and yards where, years ago, an affluent family purchased two plots and built a mini-family compound.
I have only recently gotten ‘into’ gardening. We have a small front yard; our small backyard has a deck, one fairly large tree and a triangular patch of pebbles on one side. We bought the house and moved in last year; the pebbles came with the house. This year I placed some potted flowers and tomato plants in that corner; my ambition is to build a tiered vegetable garden in that small patch of what I hope will eventually be green space.
Gardeners are enthusiastic about their works of art – the gardens they have created. We found them talkative and friendly, eager to share information about their successes as well as some of their failures. Some were experts gardening for years; others had only recently attempted to create their personal piece of garden heaven on earth.
We perused an artist’s courtyard decorated with his driftwood and marble sculptures…a wildlife habitat surrounded by trees, flowering shrubs and flowers…a tiki bar amidst a yard set up for Saturday night dance parties…regal old homes with wide front porches offering parched visitors refreshments… gardens with narrow walking paths overflowing with flowering perennials…a home on the water landscaped with potted plants and hanging baskets…
There was plenty of inspiration as well as the feeling of…there is no way I can accomplish anything like this. Our group stopped for a pizza break and successfully completed the entire tour. It took over six hours, but it was worth it. To say our old bodies were tired when we finally arrived back home is an understatement. But we are already planning to repeat the tour again next year.
We can complain because rose bushes have thorns,
or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.
- Abraham Lincoln


  1. Sounds like a great way to enjoy a garden tour. I am dangerous after one of those tours, though, thinking I should expand my own garden...til I come to my senses and realize I have all the garden I can handle.

  2. Wow are you ambitious. My garden club put one on but it covered about 20 miles. We called it Music and Blooms as we had musicians and food at most of the homes. We made a ton of money but it was such work that we only had a "second annual" before canceling all together.
    Still it is a great way to pick up ideas for your own garden.