It has surely been a wild rollercoaster that we've all unwillingly been traveling on since the "shut-down" began last year in March. We watched in horror as hospitals were overflowing with COVID-19 patients, many of them our loved ones, friends, and neighbors. We rejoiced with those that recovered and mourned those who did not. Some of us were fortunate enough to be able to work from home, some were furloughed and eventually lost their jobs, and then there were the brave who unselfishly worked on the front lines so that the rest of us could stay home "sheltering-in-place".
A new cottage industry was born - making masks: first for our medical personnel as PPE's were in short supply and then for ourselves or for family, friends, and to sell to others for safety when venturing out in public for the necessities. What a great way to be able to do something to help someone else at a time when we all felt so helpless and to be able to use up that stash of fabrics that so many of us that sew have!
We learned that you can wear those darn masks a bazillion hours a day, how to wash your hands, and wash your hands, and wash your hands.... and don't forget the hand sanitizer! We also learned how to Zoom/Microsoft Team and use other online mediums - to stay connected at work, school, church, small groups, social meetings, and with friends and family.
Once it was deemed safe to be outside, many of us chose to walk around our neighborhoods to get a breath of fresh air and some much-needed exercise. As there were so many people outside, neighbors who had once been too busy to stop and chat now had the time. Garden centers found their flowers, veggies, and seeds being snapped up by the many new "farmers" starting their own COVID Gardens. Then there was the heavenly smell of homemade bread was wafting out of many kitchens. Neighbors were sharing the fruits of their labors with each other - socially distanced of course.
Then there was the vacant roads and freeways in Southern California! The first time I ventured out was to drop off Easter baskets at my sister's house in Long Beach. The trip there from Mission Viejo normally takes me a good 45 minutes to an hour and a half one way. It was extremely eerie as I was literally the only one on the freeway for many, many miles, making the round trip in just under 50 minutes! Think of all the gas that was saved and the pollutants that weren't being emitted into our atmosphere.
All of us who were on the Board as well as our Garden Hosts for the 2020 Mary Lou Heard Memorial Garden Tour were saddened when we had to make the decision to cancel. I think I can vouch for all of us, that working in our gardens in hopes of a 2021 tour is part of what helped keep us sane.
So now after 15 months, we're so excited that we have 29 gardens to share with you. The printed Tour Guide can be picked-up at any one of our 2021 Supporting Nurseries:
Brita's Old Town Garden in Seal BeachGreen Thumb Nursery in Lake Forest; H & H Nursery in Lakewood; Heavenly Vintage Nursery in Fountain Valley; Laguna Hills Nursery in Santa Ana; M & M Nursery, Orange Coast Farm Supply, The Potting Shed and Upland Nursery all in Orange; Nursery by Southwinds in Irvine; Plant Depot and Tree of Life Nursery both in San Juan Capistrano; and Village Nursery in Huntington Beach. We are SO grateful for their support to our garden hosts! Of course you can also download a copy of the 2021 TourGuide.
Please note: the Pope garden listed as #1 in the Tour Guide, unfortunately, had to withdraw and will not be open on tour day.
So even though our gardens will not look the same as they would have the first weekend in May (which is our normal tour date), your garden hosts will be so happy to see your smiling faces. Even though we will have to wear masks - your smile will show in your eyes!
So take that COVID-19 - we are SOCAL STRONG! The countdown begins and the gardens (and a fairy or two) await your presence on June 26th and 27th!
Contributed by Cindie Reilly
MLHMGT Board member