There is no better way to learn about gardening and garden design than to go visit some really good gardens. Every year, at about this time, I'm dreaming green. I'm tired of black and white. I'm ready for all the snow and ice to disappear from the New Hampshire landscape and, even though we still have mud season to get through, I can't wait to while away a few perfect summer days visiting some great gardens.
Right now, I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of my copy of the Garden Conservancy's Open Days Directory so I can begin to plan those garden visits. Every year, the Garden Conservancy publishes the Directory, which lists gardens all across the country, from California to Connecticut, that will be open to welcome visitors . Many of these gardens are rarely--if ever--open to the public. This year, there are more than 300 gardens scheduled to participate, beginning in March and ending in early November. There are gardens that range in size from very large estates to small, intimate sanctuaries and they represent the very best in garden design and innovative horticultural practice.
While we have been spending our winter time here shoveling snow and worrying about how our plants are coping, the staff at the Garden Conservancy has been hard at work putting together this year's Open Days program. It's a daunting organizational effort that's handled seamlessly by Laura Palmer and her team of experts in Cold Spring, New York. Each year, I'm even more amazed at how they pull this off! They will be the first to tell you, however, that they could never do it without the help of almost 250 volunteers spread across the country.
|The Open Days Program Staff|
rear: Stephanie Werskey (L), Laura Palmer
front: Brianne Lyvers (L), Erin Plimley
This year, the first garden opens on March 26th in Houston, Texas. Here in New Hampshire and Vermont, there are gardens open on July 9th, 10th, and 23rd and on August 6th and 7th. There will be more details about the New Hampshire and Vermont gardens in upcoming posts on this blog.
Occasionally, we all need a break from our own gardens. Get ahold of a copy of the Open Days Directory and plan your little mini-escape now. You'll see some really great gardens, meet some very interesting and inspired gardeners, and return home with a fresh perspective on how you can improve your own garden. It will be the best, and least expensive, gardening education you'll ever receive!
Garden Conservancy's website.