One of the joys of the Garden Tour Season I always look forward to, is the tour put on by Georgia Perennial Plant Association. Several chosen gardens are opened to the membership for one week- end a year. Most gardeners would have bottled water and iced tea available for the visitors. Margaret Moseley would serve her famous Almond Tea whenever her garden was opened. Last week Pimento Cheese party sandwiches were passed around on silver trays for the guests! (Did I forget to mention that in the last post?)
For several years I served as the Tour Chairperson of this organization as well as The American Hydrangea Society. I know firsthand about what it takes to create a successful event. So I was not surprised that in recent years the format has changed and only one garden is opened for a day. I like this change. One no longer has to budget their time and rush to see as many gardens as possible in the allotted timeframe. These are SPECTACULAR gardens where one could happily spend the entire day and still not take it all in.
This year, the garden of Lyndy Broder was the featured garden. Lyndy is a dear friend and an expert on the genus Clematis. Her knowledge and talents however, go far beyond Clematis. She has collected an amazing variety of unusual and seldom seen trees and shrubs to create a personal arboretum ‘par excellence’ on her property….and almost all are festooned with the most delicious varieties of Clematis one could imagine.
A wall of seed grown species welcome visitors
Golden Larch (Pseudolarix amabilis) with Clematis
The Canadian Geese Meadow leading to the lake above.
The Sanctuary of St. Fiacre, patron saint of gardeners ( loved working with Lyndy on this project)
When a garden of this caliber is open….. everyone comes. This turned into a reunion of great plantsmen and gardeners, a huge amount of talent here, the energy was palpable.
The presentation of Martha Tate’s book about Margaret Moseley was spectacular! Above, Martha and Margaret signing books.
The book is a work of love (by Martha) and art (by Mia Broder) and the best gardening advice ever published (by Margaret).
Above,Mia Broder of Hedwigd Design responsible for the design and illustrations
I could not do better than Martha in describing this book so, with her permission here it is…
“The book is the story of the extraordinary garden that Margaret Moseley started when she was 52 years old. It is also about a very funny individual who kept us all laughing with her antics. Instead of just a lot of expository writing, the book contains excerpts from Margaret’s own journals, her unforgettable quotes and reminiscences from friends who visited her often. It also contains a lot of photographs taken over the years and valuable plant information and hints for success.
I think I might have written already that Margaret’s influence was felt far and wide in the gardening world. When she was discovered at age 78, she had been gardening for 26 years. By the time I got out of my car at her house on a spring day in 1994, she had already filled her 3/4-acre back yard with collections of viburnums, hydrangeas, camellias and just about every other shrub you could think of. She also grew an amazing variety of perennials.
While she had been unknown to garden journalists, she was a familiar sight in area nurseries, seeking out the newest introductions she’d read about in magazines, books, catalogs and the newspaper. She was also already swapping cuttings and divisions with other gardeners and buying old-fashioned plants from advertisers in the Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin, published by the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
When the news about her garden came out, the tour buses started arriving, along with television crews, and writers and photographers from national magazines. Garden clubs and Master Gardener groups arrived by the busload. Visitors to the garden enjoyed Margaret’s special almond iced tea (the recipe is in the book), and seldom did anyone leave without a plastic grocery bag containing a plant. She generously opened her garden for tours sponsored by plant societies.
The irony of all this is contained in a note she wrote to me on November 2, 1995, when she was 79: “Dear Martha, Because of you I’m enjoying my garden so much in my twilight years. Thank you. Love, Margaret”
Little did Margaret know when she wrote this note what was about to happen. For the next decade and a half, she would come into the prime of her gardening life, making personal appearances at garden centers and events with her friend and founder of the American Hydrangea Society, Penny McHenry. Margaret would come to inspire countless individuals to begin gardening, and a mention of a plant in her garden would cause nurseries to sell out immediately. She corresponded with people from all over the world who saw her featured on HGTV’s A Gardener’s Diary. Every time you’d go there, you would come away thinking that it’s never too late to enjoy gardening or to start a garden from scratch, even if you were in your 80’s.
Margaret is convinced that going out every day and working in her garden has contributed to her long life. She derived such joy in every bloom that opened and couldn’t wait to get out of the bed in the morning and start digging.
But, Margaret says, it’s the friendships she’s made along the way that have given her the greatest pleasure: “Growing old, I’ve been so blessed by the younger garden friends I’ve made through the years. I’m never lonely. I can’t say enough about what gardening has done for me. I wish everybody could have a garden.”
Note: The paperback version of the book is available at Amazon.com. It can also be purchased in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.”
Yesterday I listened in awe and lunched with the Hydrangea experts.
Above, Gene Griffin & Robert Mallet
Robert Mallet OF THE SHAMROCK COLLECTION, (located in Normandy France; the largest collection of Hydrangeas in the world), visited with Elizabeth Dean & Gene Griffin of WILKERSON MILL GARDENS; North America’s premiere hydrangea nursery.
Above, discussing the furry stems of Hydrangea aspera.
A peek at the propagating nursery above.
How lucky I was to be invited. Listening to the conversations was an education! Thank you Elizabeth & Gene.
Hydrangea season is in full swing. I have, over the last 15 years, been ‘collecting’ hydrangeas and devising many ways to display them in a garden setting. They bloom a very long time and even when they pass their ‘prime’ they are still very effective; in fact I love them more when they are faded. They truly carry the southern garden throughout the summer months.
H. macrophylla ‘Westfalen” above…
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Jogasaki’
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Mme Emile Mouillere’, turning pale blue above..
Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ in the garden with companion Kerriajaponica ‘Picta’ above..
The path leading to “The Circle of Friends” in my garden this morning … above
Some of the best hydrangea gardens in Atlanta will be on tour Saturday June 9th. Although this is a members only tour for THE AMERICAN HYDRANGEA SOCIETY, one can become a member/ buy a ticket, at several Atlanta Garden Centers or at 3 of the featured gardens on the day of the tour. (1 ticket $25.00 2 tickets $40.00)
Gloria Ward, the tour chairperson, has selected 7 gardens, the main criteria for which is being well designed including beautiful hydrangeas.