Best Garden Tour Ever!

With the weather forecast decidedly mixed, Mr. Mouse and I looked forward to this year's garden tour with some trepidation. Yes, we had both spent a goodly amount of time in the garden - pulling weeds, raking leaves, pulling more weeds - but what if you have a tour and nobody comes?

We needn't have worried. Even though publicity for the tour wasn't great this year, the rain meant that the people who showed up were the true plant lovers. There must be a correlation between people who like plants and people who like rain (or are at least willing to leave the house even if some wet stuff comes down from the sky).

It probably helped that I was fortunate to have Nicky from Gold Rush Nursery sell plants at my garden this year.  And I was so happy to see people snap up not only the dainty little columbine and pretty iris but also all of the California native cobweb thistles, and all of the bee plant (Scrophularia)! Because in the end, I'm putting my garden on tour to encourage people to consider habitat-friendly plants that are not only beautiful, fragrant, and drought tolerant, but also great for butterflies, pollinators, or hummingbirds.

It really felt my heart with joy to see so many people, young, old, CA native and immigrants, consider that our gardens can be an oasis for us, and also for other creatures that we share this earth with.

Wooly blue curl, foothill penstemon, and plant sale in the back
It probably helped that the front garden looked pretty good, and quite colorful. The wooly blue curl, bladderpod, and tidy tips were eye-catching. And I had three different penstemon species: foothill penstemon, scented penstemon, and desert beard tounge.  The last two were from Annies Annuals and after two not-so-great years, they finally surprised me with a great show this year.

Scented penstemon and prettyface, a bulb
My bulbs had also multiplied, and even prettyface was on stems that were more than an inch this time! Quite stunning.

In the back garden, the shade from the redwoods meant that things were mostly green. Surely a welcome sight, but just a little disappointing for those who came for the color. Luckily a few early spring bloomers were looking good already. Below, canyon sunflower, a Southern California native that's a bit frost tender. It's gotten bigger than I had planned and I'll have to try to transplant (or kill) it in early fall. But everyone enjoyed the lush green and happy sunflower faces.

Canyon sunflower
The iris in the garden were at perfect peak - I had worried after a very hot day last week, but the rain helped keep them alive just a little longer.

I have iris in several colors, and one plant that might even be a non-Douglas native iris. The leaves are skinnier, and the flower is a rich, dark purple.

"Come back in two weeks," I wanted to tell everyone. "When the Chinese houses are in full bloom, and the clarkia!" But garden tour day is but once a year. So I felt lucky it was such a great, moist (and not so cold) day, and that so many people (282, to be precise) had a chance to come by, enjoy the garden - and take home a few habitat-friendly plants for their own gardens!

The first of the Chinese houses


ryan said…
I wish I'd gone, didn't realize the tour was happening already. The garden looks great. It seems like plenty was in bloom and there was lots of good foliage on the things that weren't blooming yet. Too bad the clarkia and and chinese houses weren't blooming, but Triteleia and woolly blue curls and iris seems a fair trade.
Country Mouse said…
What a wonderful post! And so encouraging to hear that people are snapping up the earth-friendly beneficial plants! So happy you had such a great day sharing your garden with so many -- I know what a lot of work you put into making the experience so fun and informative for your garden visitors.