A Visit From The Garden SnobsTuesday, July 11, 2006
Opening a garden (left) has some strange rituals. Those who come cannot use the facilities and in most situations not even coffee or tea is offered. If there is more than one open garden in a tour, offering goodies could escalate into a goodies war. Since there are only two gardens in today's Vancouver Hardy Plant Group tour, I am going to make my famous iced tea (secret ingredient, Russian Caravan tea). The 400 plus enthusiasts that visited our garden on the city tour during two days a few weeks ago did not ruffle my wife's feathers all that much. This time around she is all nerves.
There are around 500 members of the Vancouver Hardy Plant Group and they are mostly mature women who are serious gardeners. The uncrowned queen is Pamela Frost(above right, holding an Arisaema candidissimum) whose garden on Elm Street(besides being exquisite) has the rarest and best plant specimens in Vancouver. Most of the plants in her garden (including a white rhododendron whose flowers have the scent of watermelon) she has patiently grown from seed. The VHPG holds no meetings. They simply visit gardens, publish an excellent bulletin and invite speakers (mostly British) to speak to us.
While the roses are fading we are hoping our visitors will appreciate our many varieties of hydrangeas, including an extremely rare Hydrangea serratifolia (Take that, Pamela!) whose flowers, before they open, resemble a ping pong ball. Rebecca and Lauren (my granddaughters) will be present in their flower-print dresses to act as hostesses when the ladies begin arriving at 6:30.
Tomorrow morning we will wake up to the usual depression mixed with relief of knowing that no more people will be coming to the garden unless we invite them. Should we let the garden go?