Thank you all SO much for your support for our yearly garden tour honoring our late founder Mary Lou Heard.
Even though we had to change the date, and in doing so lost several garden hosts, we saw so many smiling faces (isn't it GREAT to actually see smiles now?) in our gardens and on the tour.
My garden was open only on Saturday so that I could enjoy a few of the gardens on Sunday. My husband and I visited several gardens that we hadn't viewed before and a couple of favorites as well.
The first garden was our featured garden. The family was graciously giving away succulents of all shapes and sizes along with a map (that's how big their garden is!) There were charming surprises to see around every corner! They also had a port-a-potty and a food truck at lunchtime on both days. Talk about hospitality along with a lovely and inspiring garden!
Garden #2 was tucked far in the back of a driveway. As we went around the corner, we were met by a fence full of staghorn ferns which reminded me of my mom who was the proud owner of a 50+-year-old HUGE staghorn fern that she inherited from her paternal aunt. And then around the next corner, we found a hothouse brimming with orchids. The host had a couple out that you could smell - never knew that orchids had a fragrance - what a treat!
Garden #3 host had the cleverest way of planting her succulents in a design that I'm considering replicating in the future! My son wants to make it into the shape of a snake or lizard. Stay tuned for the final product in an upcoming issue! I first spotted this rock in garden #3 and then again in garden #4.
Garden #4 had a backyard that was perfect for parties - the host husband said "I just do the hard-scaping, and my wife makes it pretty." There was a koi pond, an outdoor fireplace, two entertaining areas, and a terraced garden. There were fairy enclaves and a she-shed where the host said her grandson could be found curled up with a chapter book trying to hide from his sisters! And behind it was a cantilevered sitting area with a picture-perfect view of the terraced garden. I asked the host about the rock that I had noticed at the previous garden as well as at hers. She said that she found it that morning tucked next to a potted plant on an outside table where she enjoyed her morning cup of coffee. "The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God endures forever". Isaiah 40:8. Looks like there was a garden angel spreading the good word! The last surprise at this garden was the Best. Sign. Ever.
On to garden #5 that also holds the distinction of being a part of the West Floral Park Garden Tour. This garden completely wraps around the house. There's a koi pond, beautiful potting shed, a fenced yard and house for what might be a feathered friend, and then the water table that I am so ENVIOUS of (and thinking of asking Santa for this Christmas). A she-shed and entertaining area with a grill that my hubby was absolutely drooling over. I could have stayed there the rest of the day, but there were more gardens to visit, so off we went to the next garden.
As we parked by garden #6, I noticed that her neighbor had a front-yard full of kangaroo paws. I stopped to admire them as they are one of the few plants that I've tried to grow a couple of times with disastrous results (for the kangaroo paw). So I've learned to admire but not acquire them.
Entering garden #6 you find a clever way to use doors that make a perfect vignette for these beautiful succulents. There was a true flower "bed" just beyond, and as we followed the path that leads to her grandchildren's playhouse, we came upon their sandbox that had been acquired by some fairies who had turned it into their magical village. This garden also has room to entertain and was the sight of the Garden Tour Host's Potluck two years ago. On one side of the garden is a rather large cement block wall that the host's son painted an amazing mural on. In what looks like an old grill area, she has a collection of unusual birdhouses that I always admire and would LOVE to have in my garden - hmmm another addition to my Christmas wish list.
Onto garden #7 where many more staghorn ferns awaited us (and a teeny tiny hummingbird nest in a plant on their side yard). This garden had a zen-like peaceful quietness with a million-dollar view of the Pacific Ocean. So inspiring!
The last garden of the day was one that I had had the honor of vetting while the host was having some construction work done. As you approach this beautiful property, you'll notice an ENORMOUS ficus tree in the front yard that is currently inhabited by magical folk who enjoy celebrating human holidays. I've been told that they use fireflies for their fireworks which are much less noisy (and their fairy canine friends must surely appreciate that). The back garden is shared with their faithful watch tortoise/escape artist Lenny as well as a host of antique equipment and tools from their great-grandfather (if memory serves me correctly). What a joy it was to see this garden's hardscape finished and in its glory. Sadly there were not enough hours in the day to see more, so our tired toes headed home.
Now there are two purposes for this amazing tour: #1 is to share real gardens lovingly tended by real gardeners and #2 is to raise funds for the Sheepfold. This is where all of us on the board for the Mary Lou Heard Memorial Garden Tour want to say THANK YOU to this year's garden hosts and attendees as due to your generosity, we were able to give a check in the amount of $25,788.48 to the Sheepfold! Despite the pandemic and the tour being pushed to June, this is the most money we've ever raised, and we are so humbled and thankful for your generosity. I know that Mary Lou was looking down upon us all with the biggest smile ever!
I leave you with my favorite gardening quote by Elizabeth Murray. "Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint, and the soil and sky as canvas."
Have a wonderful summer, stay safe, and be looking for our next newsletter this fall!
Contributed by Cindie Reilly
MLHMGT Board member