The Joy of Garden Tours

As the spring transitions to summer, the plants in our gardens mature and beds become lush. That’s probably why late May and early June are popular times for garden tours; many gardens look great at this time of year.

Imagine my delight when the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society announced its Bucks County tour. I quickly purchased tickets and blocked off the day on my calendar. This year’s tour took place on the last day of May and included several interesting gardens. Each one had something unique to offer.

The first garden had a beautiful pool and spa area and a number of buildings including an original stone house, a newly constructed house and a guest house that served as an art studio. While all of these areas were beautifully landscaped and meticulously maintained, the takeaway for me was the use of a see-through row of shrubs along the driveway. This look could be attained with a variety of plant material. I liked the idea of defining the space and creating privacy while providing visitors with a glimpse of the gardens beyond.

See through hedge

The second garden had beautiful arbors that looked like wood, but were made of a composite material that was weather and rot-proof, a nice addition to any garden. After all, who wants to be worried about replacing a deteriorating arbor, especially after a mature vine has practically consumed the structure? Instead, use something attractive and indestructible and then fuggedaboutit!

An indestructible arbor 

Garden 3 was clearly the home of a conifer lover. I liked how the owner arranged conifers in a sculptural way. It didn’t hurt that the sun shone down on the bed in a way that made the individual plants look like they were on actors on stage with a spotlight upon them. Very striking and memorable.

Conifers on stage

Garden 4 used color effectively. The architectural components of the home served as a backdrop to set off the bright foliage and flowers of the carefully placed plantings. In another area of the garden, different shades of purple created a harmonious and inviting space for both people and feathered friends.

The stone wall sets off roses and catmint

Different textures in the purple garden

Garden 5 was located in downtown Doylestown, PA.  The owner used every inch of the space. I was particularly impressed with the use of containers and garden statuary which added whimsy and interest to this outdoor retreat. Fencing was also used in a creative way to work around an existing tree.

A bronze bull playing in the garden

Containers added interest to the space
A fence around a tree created interest

The last garden we visited was a long narrow space.  The pool area was beautifully designed with a checkerboard patio that accented the lap pool. The space was intended to entertain as visitors used a unique kaleidoscope that brought a succulent garden to life in a non-traditional way. 

An inviting pool and patio area
A garden kaleidoscope

If you have the opportunity to visit some gardens, public or private, do it.  I promise that each garden will speak to you in some way and give you ideas that you can implement in your own garden. 

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