The bloom is rather striking. My Nashville blogging friend Gail posted about this very weed a few weeks back and yesterday. You can check her post here. This weed makes a good tea which helps with congestion. Additionally, a little known bit of folklore with this plant is that it is sometimes known as the 'King's Candelabra'. If you soak the dried flower stalk in tallow or something similar, it will make a good torch. Some of the flowers in the garden last year looked just like a candelabra. This is a very neat weed. It attracted attention because it was different and quite large, over six feet tall. I think it is happy in my garden.
The leaves of this plants are huge. They are fuzzy and soft and persist quite a while. This plant is a biennial. It formed a rosette last summer and persisted throughout the winter. Once the flowers mature and the seeds form, this plant will die. The goldfinches truly love eating these seeds and it is worth growing it for that reason alone. You will never plant it. Just watch for it while in the garden and don't pull it out. Now, on to the tour and the visitors and helpers.
The very first visitor of the day showed up pretty close to 9:00 AM. She came from west of here and took the opportunity to stop by and view the garden and pick up a ticket to see all the gardens. Judie enjoyed talking to her and BJ is a one dog welcoming party all by himself. We (Me, Judie, Phil, Geri, Nancy, and Julie) all enjoyed meeting and talking with everyone who came by. We did not keep a good count of the visitors but estimate that around 100 people visited. There was a fairly steady stream and many took the time to sign my guestbook. I appreciated that very much.
One visitor that came is a nearby neighbor. Her name is Naomi. As soon as she pulled in the driveway she jumped out of her car with this pretty cutting of St. Johns Wort in her hand. It was a special gift for me. She bought a ticket but said she only wanted to visit here since she lives close by. Her son is just down the road from me as well. We exchanged phone numbers with promises of getting together soon.
You all will recognize my regular reader Nina. She brought her daughter (Dana) and granddaughter (Sarah) for a visit. Sarah was a very tired little girl by the time they reached my garden. I appreciated seeing them and being able to take a picture. I did not take many pictures on this day but made a special effort to get my camera for this shot. Considering how long I have been blogging, you would think I would know to have my camera always at the ready.
Many visitors wondered what this plant was that matched so nicely with the red bee balm. It is drumstick alliums, Allium sphaerocephalon. An easily grown allium which is very reliable in my garden. I like the deep coloring and the fact it is easy to grow and a reliable perennial here.
Some got quite a few laughs from a gift my mother gave me for Christmas. It is a set of ceramic plaques which have sayings on them. Some of the sayings are things like: "This is your last chance, Bloom!" and "I don't remember planting this." These signs were strategically placed around the garden. A good gift for any gardener.
Another feature of the garden visitors found interesting was the bowling balls. I was asked several times if I used to own a bowling ball alley. No, but I think it would be fun. Next I was asked where I got all the balls. Several people were interested in them for their own gardens. You don't think they were really just kidding me do you? Skeeter, the Saint cannot answer.
The vegetable garden was a big hit. My little red cabbages were putting on their best 'heads'. No pun intended. The bricks made the garden neat and clean and the vegetables were actually beautiful as well as functional.
A common theme of the day was "You have so much!". Yes, I am a collector. Probably more of a collector than a designer, but collecting and planting makes me happy and isn't that what gardening is all about? I am hopeless when it comes to plants. Most all call to me and I like the challenge of growing neat and unusual plants. Honestly though, most plants I grow are easy to grow and adapted for this area. Picky ones, such as roses are not too common in my garden. (Sorry Lilacs and Roses)
I was overjoyed to see many friends. Several came from my garden club. They included Sandy and her friend Ellen, and Ann and her husband. Ann and her husband are golden lovers, so they could not wait to see the big guy, BJ. All three of my dogs were locked away during the tour, but BJ made a few guest appearances.
One star guest was Lucy. I was going to feature her as my choice for gardener of the month once upon a time when I blogged through an FTP. I changed that plan once I switched to blogger. But by sheer coincidence I made contact with a reporter for the local newspaper. I gave the reporter several gardeners' names, and Lucy's name was one of them. There was a very nice article in the paper about this 'Gardener Extraordinaire'. You may have seen it? I am looking forward to seeing the last gardener in the paper too. She and Lucy would hit it off and this lady lives in my little town!
I was truly honored Lucy visited my garden all the way from Sango. She told me "Of course I would come out here to see your garden!" How could I doubt her? I had no idea she was coming. I have many plants growing in my garden which she gave me last spring. My friend Nancy arranged for Gerianne and I to visit Lucy's garden, and like a true gardener, Lucy gave us a bit of her garden to take home. I love all the plants and think of her whenever I see them. I actually have a 'Lucy' garden area. She is one of those gardeners you just want to be around in order to learn all she knows. Her garden is truly a beauty and should be on a garden tour as well. Her knowledge of all plants is amazing and she has taught me much.
Thanks to everyone who made the trek out here to my little town on the west side of Clarksville. Many visitors commented it was worth the trip. A trip most don't make due to it seeming to be so far away. The tour was wonderful. I tried to speak to everyone who came through. Many told me they used to read my articles in the paper, and many told me they follow the blog. Some asked for advice and opinions. But all visitors were very nice and commented that all of the gardens on the tour were special. That is a nice thing to hear.
I am not done with posting on the tour. I had the pleasure of touring seven additional gardens during the two days after the actual tour. Yup seven, I had the bonus of touring one garden not on the tour.
Stay tuned for more on the tour (I think I have one, maybe two posts left). And at some point I will prepare a tip post on how to prepare for a tour for all you gardeners out there who would gladly open your garden to the public.
in the garden....thinking about touring gardens.