The KPRC Radio Gardenline Tip By Randy Lemmon For 10-09-03 Printer-Friendly Version
Touring Gardens in Fort Bend County
Are you a nosy neighbor? Love to see what others have done in their private outdoor spaces? The Houston area offers many garden tours in both the spring and fall. From city-wide garden clubs to the Rose Society to Master Gardener tours to the Azalea Trail, going on a garden tour is a relatively inexpensive learning opportunity that is just plain fun. Prices often start as low as a few dollars per home. But you donít have to go on an official tour to learn from what you see. Next time you are at a friendís home for dinner, ask about their garden, or better yet, ask for a tour! After all donít gardeners love to talk about gardening? And donít forget about our wonderful public gardens and arboretums such as Mercer Arboretum. Here are some ideas on how to get the most from visiting gardens:
1. Bring a camera. Do ask permission before you shoot pictures, but most homeowners will not mind. A picture will be much more useful than your memory, no matter how young you are.
2. Wear appropriate shoes and clothes for walking and the weather, and bring your own supply of water. Some tours have refreshments and some donít.
3. Take notes. Sketch a particular bed design that you like, record foliage and color combinations that appeal to you, and write down specific plant names. A garden tour is usually a one-shot opportunity to view the chosen gardens, you wonít be able to go back later if you canít remember which plants they combined in a container design, for example.
4. Ask questions. If guided tours are not available, there will often be docents or others around who are knowledgeable about the gardens.
5. Investigate the plants that appeal to you. Most botanical and demonstration gardens label their plant material with as much information as they can to help visitors. Find out how old the plant is, where it came from, if itís an annual, perennial, etc., and especially what itís botanical name is. (Common names are easily confused, and you will have much better success purchasing the plant you want if you go by the botanical name.)
6. Look at particular challenges the garden designer may have overcome and whether those solutions might work for your problems. Do the plants share the yard with dogs? Are there drainage issues? How do they protect their tropicals during a hard freeze?
7. Keep an open mind when looking at garden styles that are different from your own. Look at plant colors, textures and growth habits. You can learn something from every garden you visit, even if it is discovering that you simply hate rock gardens. Better to find out from looking at someone elseís than by looking at the one you just installed in your own yard.
Lastly and most importantly, remember to have fun! Take your spouse or a friend along, even if they are not an avid gardener; you will enjoy their company and you might just convert them!
Submitted by Amy Ping, Landscape Director, Fort Bend County Master Gardeners, Inc.
The Fort Bend County Master Gardenerís 2003 Fall Garden Tour is Sat., Oct. 11 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets are $10 for six homes plus the FBMG Demonstration Gardens or $2 per home, $8 seniors. Tickets available at each home on Oct. 11 or at the FBMG Demonstration Gardens, 1402 Band Road, Suite 100, Rosenberg, Texas; 281-341-7068 or 281-342-3034. The Demonstration Gardens is the recommended starting point.
Until next issue, here's to
Great Gardening from the GardenLine, heard
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