What Is The Purpose Of A Garden Tour?

Lovely day, lovely neighborhood.  A mature Jacaranda mimosifolia:
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What is the purpose of a garden tour?  It varies, of course.  There are usually multiple reasons for these events.  Sometimes a fund raiser, sometimes a real-estate promotion, sometimes these-people-just-spent-two-hundred-thousand-dollars-out-here-and-want-to-show-it-off.  
Sometimes, it's even about the plants!
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What I hope to get out of taking a tour is seeing familiar plants beautifully grown, unusual plants thriving, fresh ideas, garden problems solved in a creative way, elegant style,and inspiration to make my own garden better.
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We attended a tour last Saturday whose purpose seemed, most of all, to be a friendly neighborhood get-together and community spruce-up for Spring.  Two of the gardens were particularly wonderful, but we saw the first and second a couple of weeks ago on the Heard Memorial tour.  Another garden was well worth seeing, but most of the others were simple, and focused on providing nothing more than a clean safe place for the kids to play and a few tomato plants.  Ambitious horticultural or design experiments, not.  It was a happy tour with little ego and a lot of overheard good natured kidding like "Hey, neighbor.  I see you finally fixed those loose bricks!"



 It was a lovely way to spend a couple of hours on a Saturday.  Almost all the houses were within a short walk of each other, so it was exercise as well.  Many people were walking their dogs.  There were food trucks (ringed by highly attentive dogs) and the neighborhood car collectors brought their treasures for display.   Packard:
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We focused on no one thing, but simply let our attention wander to where ever it chose to go, from a charming birdbath...

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...to a Caryota outgrowing its atrium.
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I thought it rather amusing that many plants recently installed were of the low-water sort, but the lawn remained. 
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 In general, the lawns in the neighborhood were lavish, lush, thick, and had the deep deep green of regular fertilizer applications.  No rabbit damage at all.  
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One home had half the front yard in a low water, no-lawn palette, while the other half sported a lavish water intensive (lawn, hydrangeas) style.  It looked a bit schizophrenic, or at least indecisive.
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Another home had matched the plantings to the home's paint colors of olive, taupe, and eggplant.  It worked beautifully.
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A airy Grevillea tossing in a cool spring breeze:
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A bit of history--obviously the oldest home in the neighborhood and at one time no doubt a farm house surrounded by citrus trees. 
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A bit more history--a vintage citrus "smudge pot".

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Sixty to one hundred years ago in this area, when cold threatened the citrus crop, smudge pots would be filled with fuel oil and lit, creating a thick smoke that helped to prevent frost damage.  Ironically, nowadays the heat island effect of  asphalt and concrete makes frosts far more rare than they were when the land was robed with orchards.  But now the orchards are gone.  
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 An elderly gentleman was proudly showing off his 35 year old hanging basket of Sedum morganianum.  It was about a meter (a little over 3') long. 
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Artichokes and Agapanthus in front of a huge but bloomed-out Echium:
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One property was obviously home to an avid gardener, because there were potted plants stashed everywhere, sure sign of a plant nut.  This garden had a tropical theme. 
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There was a large resort-style pool surrounded with tropical and subtropical plants.
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I would have been happy to spend the day there.
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Besides being a gardener, the owner was also a ceramicist, and his work was on display.
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Senecio radicans in a handmade wall pot.
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 Lots and lots of color discipline throughout the neighborhood.  The mixture of plants takes a more sophisticated approach than just a mass of petunias. 
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A little pot on a porch created a peaceful mood:
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I would say a neighborly get-together is an excellent excuse for a garden tour.  
Not that we need an excuse, right?

Photobucket Now that I think about it, I did see some beautifully grown plants...
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Some out-of-the-ordinary plants thriving...an Iochroma...
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...and some inspiration to make my own garden better.
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It was all good! 

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing photos of your tour, so many gorgeous plants and you can pick up some bits and pieces as sources of inspiration. The Caryota growing through the atrium was fun to see, and that pool looks so inviting!

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  2. Loved the garden in the last picture!

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  3. @Mark & Gaz, that pool was super. It was starting to get a little warm as we walked, and I was so tempted to jump right into that sparkling water.

    @College, me too!

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  4. I love the differences between a California tour and an Oregon tour. The warmth down there makes for wonderful and unusual (to me) plant options. The ubiquity of paving-lawn-annuals is a constant everywhere, I suspect.

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  5. The Grevillea, the Papyrus! Oh my! Then the Sedum morganianum, the bloomed out Echium...on and on...oh to live in a neighborhood like that!

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  6. Your post reminds me that I really want a staghorn fern for the shady front porch. And I also concur that plantings shouldn't hide the house -- especially nice-looking houses!

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  7. Very nice selection of landscapes...the carpetsor litter of fallen jacaranda flowers is probably my favorite. But so much attention to detail and care is refreshing. Thanks!

    Guess I need to hit a garden tour to my W next time?

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  8. Thanks for taking us on this beautiful gardentour. Are this only frontgardens? What a lucky people to have such large gardens.
    greatings Marijke

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