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The Garden Tour

If you visit our home in the season that runs from approximately mid-May until at least early October and express any interest whatsoever in our garden, you get The Garden Tour.

New visitors receive a quick orientation to our garden plan and philosophy: We grow things that are edible or otherwise useful and very few things that qualify only as ornamental. We are committed to gardening organically and enriching the soil as we grow our food. We try to grow mostly heirloom vegetables so that we can help support and promote diversity. While we walk our guests around the paths, we point out and name the plants, giving a little history, telling an anecdote or two. Their indicated level of interest will direct the quality of the Tour they receive. If they come at the right time of the season, they’ll probably get some tomatoes or squash to take home.

Returning visitors get the Garden Tour as well. They seem to expect it. We certainly do. They hear about what’s different in our garden than last year, what went wrong, what experiments we’re trying this year.

On some occasions, a visitor might get a different sort of tour. In the morning, a good friend who I haven’t seen for quite a long while stopped by. We talked in the living room, catching up on each other’s lives, and then I asked if she wanted to see the garden. After we walked around and viewed all the sights, I bent down to pull a few weeds– who can resist, when they are waiting there for me?– and so did she. We talked more about our children and our lives and our struggles and decisions, while we worked. The sun shone down on us as we pulled weeds and kept talking. It was warm and fragrant in the garden, and our voices mingled with the outdoors sounds of birds and breeze through the trees.

I thought about the time she visited a couple years ago. Jim and I were standing with her near the asparagus bed and talking, and one of us noticed the return of the dreaded asparagus beetle and larva. (I’m planning a post on dealing with the asparagus beetle very soon.) As is our habit, we moved closer to the asparagus and began squishing the beetles and larva that we could see. Our friend joined in the –ugh– fun, and we worked together, talking all the time.

Our Garden Tours for friends and visitors are not intended to show off a finished product. A garden is always a work in process, but it’s a pleasure to share the work that we’ve done and what we’ve learned in our garden with our guests. Being able to share both our triumphs and challenges with friends is another one of gardening’s — and life’s– joys.

Posted in • Growing.

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