Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Garden Tour: Growing Community

The day before the garden tour, we spent the entire day working in the garden. Due to the recent heat wave and lack of rain, everything was looking a bit crispy and needed a little extra tlc before we had visitors. Alex and I worked until sundown, tidying, weeding and watering (with help from Olivia). It's always so heartening to see, literally fruits of our labor, ripening and thriving in the garden.

Meteor pie cherry.

Madison peach.

Brandywine tomato.

The heirloom potato patch, coming along nicely.
heirloom potato patch


Olivia, giving me eyes (and not grumpy) while doing the watering.
garden helper

After a whole day in the heat and working so hard, and back from a quick ocean swim, it was wonderful to take a walk around the garden that evening and enjoy our efforts. In the quiet and stillness, as I sat on a bench with my feet up, I watched low clouds roll up from the beach and pass low over our house. I spotted a common ground beetle, laying her eggs with care into the pine drop covered soil. A red house finch came to the feeder. Soon we dragged our aching selves into the house for a late dinner and finally, the comfort of bed.

Early visitors. A red house finch.
red house finch

A common black ground beetle, also known as a beneficial insect.
common ground beetle

Ready for the tour.
ready for the tour
pretty lady
a restful moment
low clouds over the house

We were up bright and early Saturday to do any last minute prepping for the tour, which was to begin at 9am. Our first visitors arrived 9am on the dot and kept coming, pretty steadily throughout the day.

Our first group of visitors arrive.
first visitors on the tour

Alex answers questions about the grapes.
grape lessons

It was a self-guided tour, though usually we were out to answer questions and chat with everyone. I asked Adam to meet and greet for a bit, just so I could set up the final things, like the water canteen, cups and table for our guests, and before I knew it, he was off, handling the visitors and questions like an old gardening pro.

garden tour

We had so many kind and enthusiastic comments about our garden, and lots of great questions. Some people explored everything, and even wanted to see in our shed (which some asked, is that your little shop?, but yes, you may peek inside our shed.)

the garden shed

People wanted to know about the plants in our containers, or about our picnic table.
on the deck

Absolutely everyone pointed out our ripe tomato, with the relish of someone about to fetch both knife and plate. The most popular feature in our garden turned out to be the bean box tuteurs (see photo of Olivia watering, above). So clever, so useful, so pretty, so neat, such a great idea, said everyone. Oh, and the outdoor sink, was very popular as was our newly constructed fire pit, also.

Our outdoor sink.
the outdoor sink

The new fire pit.
the new fire pit

It stayed sunny and warm in the morning, but by noon, it was beginning to look a bit ominous to the west.


Soon it was looking very ominous.


And it was directly above our house. Also, ominous.

storm light

We didn't know if people would continue on with the garden tour in the rain. But just as the rain started, more people arrived and the flow of people stayed just as steady as it did in the morning. A true gardener gardens in the rain, you know. We estimate that we had around 50 or so people through our garden and we were busy until 3pm.

the rain starts
the tour continues

By late afternoon, I had a chance to take more photos while the family finished up their Talisman game.

a weekend game of Talisman

The rain was a much needed and welcome gift to the garden.

rain drops
nasturtium plate

The garden tour was well-worth the effort and it was so wonderful to have a chance to share it with others, answer questions and just chat with other green thumbs. One visitor had information about the history of our house, which is always welcome, as there isn't a lot of history recorded. She told us that the house didn't have electricity until the late '50s, early '60s, for one, which was news to us, though not surprising. We chatted with her for a bit and we may end up attending the garden club meetings together--ah, community building at its best. Absolutely everyone was kind, courteous, inquisitive and gracious. It was an honor to be asked and included in the tour and we would do it again. How could we think otherwise when we were told this more than once, If you can only see one garden today, you have to see the one in Old Orchard Beach? Isn't that amazing? It's just the balm we needed for these aching feet and shoulders, I'll tell ya.


  1. just love, love your garden - such an inspiration!

  2. Glad that the day went well! Are you able to keep your lantana alive in the winter or do you start fresh every year?

    Also, thanks for all the inspiration in your last post. This is our second summer in our new home and I have so many dreams for our garden! I'm curious about invasive species. How do you decide which to keep? For example, daylilies are not native and I'm considering getting rid of all of mine.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas and photos.

  3. Just found your blog. Lovely. It is my dream to visit Maine & the Common Ground Fair. Until that day, I can enjoy your blog and beautiful garden & family. Thanks from Oregon!

  4. Finally back on line, nice to see such great photos of tour day! Glad to see people kept coming even through the rain!

  5. You have SUCH a beautiful garden, so inspirational! I love that face plaque too (it looks like a moon to me, is that intended?)



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