Monday, April 11, 2011

Theodore Payne Foundation Tour

We were thrilled and honored to be invited onto the Theodore Payne Foundation’s Native Plant Garden Tour again this year. In fact, when asked which one of his clients’ houses should be included on the tour, our landscaper Joel didn’t hesitate to recommend ours. The tour was held this past Saturday.

Payne not only provides signage and color-coordinated t-shirts, but also a docent or two to help manage the crowds. This year I requested our friend Marcy, whose own beautiful gardens have been featured on the tour in previous years. When our great octopus agave died last fall after producing a 15-foot stalk of blooms (see last year’s tour photos), Marcy rescued the babies, called “pups,” to pot them for a fundraiser. I’m not sure what happened, but on Saturday she showed-up schlepping 80 small potted agave plants.

“I thought it would be fun to give them away to the people on the tour,” she offered. And she was right! We lined them up on the front and back porches with a big sign saying, “Please help yourself!” They were gone within four hours.

Marcy greeted people in the front yard, while Tim and I answered questions in the back. In November, we created a third garden where our rear driveway used to be. People who had been on the tour last year were very interested in seeing what we’d done. They also loved our naturally symmetrical western redbud tree and, of course, our spectacular dendromecon (Channel Island Bush Poppy), which apparently has no peers. But everyone was most fascinated by our leucadendron (pictured above)—a South African native that most had never seen. Its unusual blooms are gorgeous.

By 4:30PM, we were completely exhausted. . . and very, very happy. Some 120-150 people had come through (we lost count, early on!) and all said they loved our gardens.

“What a beautiful sanctuary!” one woman exclaimed. Another asked if I talk to my plants.

“Of course!” I said. “Who wouldn’t? After four years, I’m still amazed every morning when I come out to see what else has bloomed.”

What a joy to be able to share such beauty with others.

No comments: