Sunday, April 18, 2010

4/18/2010 Garden Tour

How nice. There was an open garden tour around the Bay Area today, in which people volunteer to open up their homes and yards for the general public to view. Nurseries selling plants set up stands, or even a display of plants to buy, at some of the houses too. Some houses give talks, and numerous volunteers are at each house to guide and ask questions.

This garden tour focused on "native" gardens, meaning, emphasizing plants that are native to California (if not exactly this region), or similar climates such as parts of Australia. The idea is slow-growing low-water-needs plants, that after they're established, need only occasional watering to get through dry times. This is a big difference from vast water-intensive lawns.

The part that caught my eye in the paper was that the boys' elementary school is on the tour this year, as apparently it too has a native garden. However, we skipped that one because I can see it anytime!

I took Julian and Katrina to a garden a block away from her preschool, and what an absolutely lovely beautiful place it was. Flowery, diverse, shady...the one word I wouldn't use to describe a "native" garden is "lush," but I don't miss it.

They don't tend to be manicured or brightly-colored either -- no pansy banks here. But I really, really like this sort of planting. And, how handy, we get to do this soon!

Katrina, typically, was something of a liability, wanting me to carry her, then picking off flowers she liked, then not wanting to leave. Julian, typically, was very interested, reading all the signs describing the plants, calling me over to show me some new discovery. I wasn't about to let this little diva horn in on my date, so, I dropped her back home and carried on with just Julian. That was fun, I relish time alone with any of them, but this is right up Julian's alley.

We saw three more gardens, mostly front ones, but still just as pretty, and just as accessible. This isn't looking at English gardens with a staff maintaining it; the whole point is to be low-maintenance. One lady told Julian that a rock in the midst of the garden was put there just for kids, and invited him to go play on it.

This time of year, the orange poppies are out, and they're dazzling. I'd like to know what they look like the other 54 weeks of the year, but I'll ask that part later.

It's hard to believe that sometime this year, our yard will no longer be an eyesore, a blank slate, an embarrassment, or a jobsite. It's a mess right now, but someday, someday soon, it might actually be a garden.


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