Monday, August 17, 2015

Reflections on tour day...

The first guests arrived before the 11:00 opening hour Saturday for the Green on Green Tour. Being polite people they patiently waited in their car until I spotted them and invited them in. We walked around the front garden together (the last time I would step out of the back garden until almost 4:00) and I learned that one of the trio had made the trip up from Sacramento. A long-time follower of the blog she cashed in frequent flyer miles to come see my garden! If no one else had visited that meeting alone would have made all the work worth it.

But more people did come, lots of them, and Andrew was on the ball and captured photos.

There were people I’ve chatted with online but ever met in person. People who read the blog but have never commented. People who hadn’t ever heard of the blog, or even knew what a blog was. The final numbers on the tour ticket sales aren’t in yet but there were easily over 200 people through the garden and maybe as many as 300. At one point the upper garden was full, I glanced down at the patio and saw more people there than I’d ever seen before (including last summer when the Garden Bloggers group was here) and then I looked over to the driveway and saw a line waiting to get in. Thankfully I was mid-conversation or I might have had a panic attack.

I was not expecting the level of interest that the garden received. I was hoarse that evening from talking so much. Thinking back on the questions it’s easy to remember the plants most everyone wanted ID on (listed below, if you’re curious). But sadly I also recall a couple of names I gave that were complete crazy talk, what was I thinking? I believe I told someone that Artemisia ‘Silver Brocade’ was A. ‘Bridal Veil’ (what?). And I insisted that Thalia geniculata ‘Ruminoides’ was not a Thalia…duh! At least I was able to tell them to look up “red stemmed water canna” to get the name, and indeed that leads to Thalia geniculata. I have no excuse other than my brain was fried, seriously fried.

I was thrilled the patio and shade pavilion earned almost as many questions as the plants, Andrew’s hard work and creativity did not go unnoticed.

The dish planters received a huge amount of inquiries. Where did I get them? What are they made out of? I should have bought the complete inventory of the galvanized dishes (tops to bird feeders) at Linnton Feed & Seed, had Andrew cut some metal fence posts, and sold kits. We'd be rich!

The circle planters from Potted and the hanging dish planters from Pot Inc. also got a lot of attention. As did the stock tanks, I was happy to refer people to Burns Feed Store in Gresham.

Some of the odder questions I received involved the lawn; people wanted to know what kind of grass it was, because it grew so short. The answer? It’s whatever we inherited with the house, I just cut it short. Others wanted to know if the succulents and other plants in containers were growing in straight gravel? No, the gravel is just a top dressing, there is a soil mix under that gravel. And one lady was curious if I planned to prune the Magnolia macrophylla (no), and then insistent that I must, because otherwise it was going to get really big (yes, it is). She did seem happy to learn I planned to coppice the Paulownia tomentosa however, so I guess I wasn’t a complete nut.

Some of the most asked about plants included:
Clifford, our Magnolia macrophylla – of course it thrilled me when I overheard people answering each other’s questions “That’s Clifford, the big-leaf Magnolia!" (by the way Clifford was 10 years old this July!)
Magnolia laevifolia
Melianthus major 'Antonow's Blue'
Syneilesis aconitifolia
Colutea arborescens (which I could not for the life of me remember the name of and when I did I was spelling it Coultia) – it's pods were just calling out for attention...

Alstroemeria isabellana
Lysimachia paridiformis var. stenophylla
Aeschynomene fluitans
Sammy, the tallest Yucca rostrata (people were amazed that it’s hardy)
People remembered to ask about the Arctostaphylos (aka manzanita), even though they’re in the front garden
Podophyllum pleianthum – and I gave full credit to my friend Bridget for growing such a fine specimen. I am merely it’s adoptive parent.
Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate'
Passiflora ‘Sunburst’ – even with no flowers!

There was only one accident, a broken container – aloe okay. Thankfully it was an inexpensive pot and I already had an empty one just like it in reserve...not bad.

Finally...there was a nice fellow down from Seattle for the tour, we were talking plants (of course) and I asked “What’s your favorite nursery in Seattle?” (I’m always curious to know if my old fav’s are holding up or if there’s a new game in town). He smiled and answered: Cistus Nursery. Ha! Yes, of course, which makes me think of the many people who asked where I get all the cool plants, do I mail order a lot of them? No, I rarely mail-order. I live within easy driving distance of so many amazing nurseries. Thank you to Cistus, Xera, Garden Fever, Rare Plant Research, Joy Creek, Portland Nursery, Dancing Oaks, Gossler Farms, Sebright Gardens, Secret Garden Growers (and in Washington: Far Reaches Farm, The Desert Northwest, City People’s Garden Store, Jungle Fever) just to name a few (and there are more, so many more) thanks for making it possible to have all the cool plants! And thank you to everyone who bought a ticket and attended the tour, it was a blast having you here.

All material © 2009-2015 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

59 comments:

  1. Oh My! Seeing these photos, I am so glad you advised me to come late. I had the entire garden (and you) all to myself for a bit, and it was wonderful. All those people would have freaked me out and put me in a lousy mood. You should still put kits together for those dish planters and get rich selling them on etsy, it's not too late (I'll buy several). The little table planter too. Thanks again for opening your garden for this tour, and for all the work I know you put into making sure it looked great!

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    1. Things were even crazier at times, than the photos suggest Alison! I'm glad you made it down for the tour, and I'm still jealous over your fabulous Cistus nursery haul!

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  2. I'm sorry I missed your open ! I had my half brother and sister visiting . I've never met them before. They were very,very lovely people …phew !

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    1. That sounds both fun and stressful Linda, glad it went well!

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  3. Oh my gosh--I'm glad you survived! 300 people would DEFINITELY be too many for me. What an experience!

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    1. Still waiting for the official numbers, to see how many it really was...but it was definitely an experience! (a good one)

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  4. That's quite a crowd -- congratulations! Think next time you might have some written materials that answer some of the plant questions? (Could help save your voice...)

    I love talking about plants with visitors, especially seeing which plants "click" with which people. Fun stuff! (as long as it's not 90ºF+ and humid and/or raining)

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    1. "Next time" ???? You're funny.

      I briefly thought of doing something like that before hand, but I'm glad I didn't. There is no way I would have come close to guessing what plants caught their eye. And the weather, it was perfect! (we lucked out)

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  5. Wonderful, just wonderful. It's exhausting, right? But worth it, even if your head spins at the end of the day and a few days thereafter. Wonderful turnout, congratulations, Loree! You should not be surprised there are so many interested and devoted fans out there. You were my inspiration for a blog and your style is unsurpassed as far as I am concerned.

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    1. Exhausting, oh yes! Andrew and I were trading stories and bits and pieces for the rest of the weekend.

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  6. Very nice. Garden tours are fun; have had lots of them. Most of the visitors have been great. I win the contest for weirdest question, though. "Is there a place in your garden where I can pee?"

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    1. You win! (thankfully) And what was your answer?

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  7. How I wish I could have been there! Not letting anybody into my own garden in the near future, but I've been touring a lot of other people's gardens this year and one of the real treats is being able to meet in person several people who I've "met" online.

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    1. Well if you ever make it out Portland way I do hope you'll visit!

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  8. Somehow, the garden looks even bigger and better with people in it. I wish I lived anywhere within driving distance.

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    1. You're right, having all those folks in it did make it look bigger! Maybe someday you'll visit?

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  9. Wow! You went from never opening your garden to the full monty in what...about a year? I like Alan's suggestion about having handouts. I would need them just to jog my memory, as even a plant I know perfectly well can draw a blank as I wander around my garden. As fluent as you are in plant-speak, it's comforting to know it happens to you as well.

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    1. Last July was the trial run with the bloggers (80ish) to yes, a lot more! I should have had my phone with me, so I could have at least looked at my plant list here on the blog, duh!
      (http://www.thedangergarden.com/p/my-plants-list.html)

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  10. Just shows how popular you are and how wonderful your garden is :) great to see the success of your open day and the thought that so many would have gone home, taking with them some inspiration to apply to their own space.

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    1. Oh yes, I do hope there was plenty of take home inspiration for those that attended, that would be the best reward for me!

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  11. What an exciting day for you. All those people and I think your spaces are quite small. It does look beautiful. I have never seen those dish planters before and they are gorgeous. Not only the idea but the way you have planted them. Maybe you should rush out and corner the market. Well done Andrew for taking photographs.

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    1. The are quite small! (the lot, including the house, is 47' x 111') The dish planters have been done by others (Big Red Sun for one). This is just my take on the idea, so I'm hardly being original.

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  12. Garden tours are exhausting. Some plant shopping will revive you.

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  13. Thank you for opening your garden and giving us the chance to see a dream. Its absolutely wonderful - a plant lover's delight.

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    1. Thank you C! (I think I know who you are? And if I'm right it was a delight to talk with you)

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  14. You & your garden are amazing -- it was so great to meet you and see it in person. Hats off to you and Andrew!

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    1. So wonderful to meet you Kate, and your husband (who's name I can't remember because I met so many people that day!)...I am honored you came.

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  15. Is it crazy for somebody to fly up from Sacramento just to see your garden? Absolutely...not!

    I'm glad you had so many enthusiastic visitors. I'm sure handled everything with your usual aplomb--at least outwardly. Nobody can hear you scream inside :-).

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    1. Ha, thanks Gerhard. And I hope you're right about the screams.

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  16. Wow a full house (garden)! I imagine it will take a while to recover. Your garden is a very special place and I am happy you opened it for others like you did for us last summer!

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    1. I am happy you've been here Laurin!

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  17. You're garden is always a delight to see. Your blog and garden convinced me that I should try blogging myself. I thought you might have been "on the sauce" when you told me that Thalia wasn't a Thalia! Alan thoroughly loved your garden and is dreaming of ripping everything out in his garden and stealing your aesthetic. Thanks for being one highlights of the tour!

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    1. Oh thank goodness, I'm glad one of those I talked crazy to was you! What was I thinking?! And no, no "red sauce" until later that evening.

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  18. I think it is a given the garden host will talk herself hoarse. Gardensers love others' gardens and have so many questions we've never thought of. Interesting to see how others view our creations. You are lucky to have such a bounty of nurseries nearby.

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    1. You're right! There were questions I would have never begun to dream up, so interesting...

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  19. Your garden is deserving of all that attention and, wonderful, passionate, creative gardener that you are, I'm sure that meeting you was also a large part of the attraction. I think you should definitely do it again - a year is plenty of time to recuperate - and you and Andrew should definitely offer your specialty container kits. Who knows - I might get my husband off his duff to visit up that way if the family we have up in the PNW wasn't down here the same weekend (as was the case this time). Congratulations on a highly successful event, Loree!

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    1. Thanks Kris, and while I won't be doing this tour again next year (it's different gardens, in a different part of town each year) you are definitely invited anytime you make it up this way!

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  20. I'm glad that so many people had the opportunity to see your garden; it's a special space and deserving of admiration! Sounds like everyone, including you, had a good time! Yes! kits on etsy! I'd buy some too. Danger Dishes? Soon you'll be powder coating them in chartreuse, teal, red, orange...

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    1. Danger Dishes...hehe, love it. And powder coating! You are the creative one.

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  21. Oh, I know the feeling of having a fried brain and mixing up plant names. That happened to me at the Fling--especially toward the end. Congratulations on a successful tour! Your succulent plants in the circle planter look so healthy!

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    1. Thanks PP, still wish you would have been part of the Portland Fling group.

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  22. This is just wonderful! Congratulations on a great day - tea and honey for the throat, maybe? Another vote here for 'Danger Dishes' on etsy - that's genius :~)

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    1. Tea and honey would have been smart, instead it was red wine! I wonder if the shipping would be prohibitively expensive? After all metal pipes are not light!

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  23. That is some crowd. Pleased it went so well, and next time yes do the pots kits, infact start now and do mail order ;)

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    1. You all are so encouraging! Thank you. And I can see a couple of those dish planters in your garden...

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  24. I'm seriously having an anxiety attack just reading and looking at your photos. Gah! I'm relieved it's all over FOR you. Hahahaha. I'd love to invite myself for a tour....without the crowd. :) And yes, the dish planters are awesome and you should totally sell them. Etsy would be a pain with shipping. Just set up a stand in the driveway and they will come to you!

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    1. You can come over anytime Mindy! (well, with a little notice)

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  25. I love the photo of you under the mimosa canopy in the process of talking yourself hoarse. It's amazing how many people as well as plants your garden can hold! Congrats to you and Andrew on your brilliantly successful tour.

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    1. I almost didn't include that one, but Andrew said I had to (and thank you).

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  26. Wow!! how impressive!! I'm so happy it has been such a great experience and that everybody loved your garden (I must say I´m not surprised)!! By the way, happy birthday to Clifford!!! And I would have asked for Passiflora `Sunburst´ even without flowers too (If I hadn't seen it in your blog)...the leaves are soo cool!
    A thing that thrills me and amazes me is that you have a plant that is a native for me, and I enjoy seeing it in summer whenever I go hiking in my little village in central Spain: Colutea arborescens. I love its seed pods!

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    1. How big does it get Lisa, out there in the "wild"....? (the Colutea arborescens)

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    2. 3 to 9 feet. Although personally I haven't seen a 9 ft one in the wild. Sorry it took me so long to answer...

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  27. I'm so glad it was such a success! How amazing to have someone come all the way from Sacramento just for this event! Though I'm sorry to have missed it, I feel incredibly privileged to be able to visit your garden when it isn't packed with people. The lady who was concerned about Clifford's eventual size made me laugh. It reminds me of a lot of people I met in the Southeast, well-intentioned but pushy and opinionated. And doesn't Clifford belong to subspecies ashei? Seems like it should be to bloom as such a small tree. Regular macrophylla takes longer to reach blooming size and grows much larger. Ashei is much smaller in overall-size.

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    1. No, Clifford is not ssp. Ashei, unfortunately. Patricia shopped around and found one but I just went for the first M. macro... that I saw. He didn't bloom for about the first 5 years, now he's crazy for the flowers.

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  28. This sounds incredibly gratifying but exhausting. My own tour lasted less than 40 minutes, so five hours is scary to contemplate. You and Andrew should be proud of the admiration your garden has received, both directly and through the blog. Having visited once, I know it is well deserved.

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    1. "gratifying but exhausting"...yes, both! And thank you Jason - since it's about as far away from your style as possible I appreciate that you say so.

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  29. Did the Fling visit break you into the idea of having your garden on tour? I remember you used to feel pretty hesitant about it. I'm not surprised at all to hear that people traveled to see your garden. I did too! I'm glad that it was a positive experience and that only one pot got broken -- and no agave pokes to the legs, I guess?

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    1. No not really (break me into the idea). Well I guess it did help me to know what to expect, although these people were much more into it than most of the "Flingers" were, which was a welcome surprise. The reason I said yes was because of the ladies who asked (I respect their contributions to our local plant scene) and because the overall tour was a benefit for an organization whose work I believe in.

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