At long last, I am actually sitting and so happy to be able to share with you the Tour of Gardens that we were fortunate to be a part of in our beautiful hometown. I say at long last because I do not think I actually sat down for the weeks leading up to the Tour and then I was forced to catch up with realities after such a long escape into our gardens. Now it is a bit bittersweet to have such a massive project come to a close but the tried and true thing about gardening is that it really never ends!
We live on a lake that faces our incredible state park, Maclay Gardens. I grew up enjoying the Maclay Gardens with my family and now to see it and appreciate it each and every day is a blessing beyond no other. Maclay Gardens is a true gem, but like so many other grand institutions, the budget needs are quite high. The Friends of Maclay Gardens have provided monetary and volunteer assistance for many years organizing this annual event. The Friends are an incredible group of volunteers that quite simply love and appreciate the beauty we are so lucky to have at our footsteps.
When asked in January if we would participate it seemed oh so harmless. Yet, I was astute enough to know that I would only commit with the help of one of the greatest ladies, friends, and gardener extraordinaires that I know and she indeed agreed. Two months passed and then all perspective of the calendar changed and all things rotated around the 20th of May!
It was truly a small army of some of my favorite people on Earth that made it happen and I will forever look back on the weeks of blood, sweat, and tears through rose colored glasses! My army led by Nancy (better know as Flower Power), Tom (my grass magician that has been steadfast in making the grass stunning for years), Frank (the backbone of so much), Happy (that has been with me for years and understands what I mean without even saying it), Sharon (who is truly the most gifted boxwood gardening artist I have ever known), Melissa (the newest to the group yet already knows and loves the gardens as if they were her own), and my Annie (that jumped in immediately when she came home from college spray painting, hauling, and playing all around catch all with her beautiful muscles)! To each I owe countless thank you’s!
We did have some challenges along the way and all I can say is that when grass does not want to cooperate, then it really does not. We had a section of grass that was determined to beat us down. The temperatures soared into the 90’s all week, the grass was replaced three times, and countless hours of water ran, which hurts my soul but the gentleman from our top-notch garden shop Espositos was determined to prevail and they actually did … a round of applause for such determination and diligence (to the grass and to Steve)!
I do believe my favorite breaks were when Nancy and I would just walk away from the heat a bit and hit every garden shop in town. Yes, they all know us! Espositos, Tallahassee Nurseries (my all time favorite tree from Limelight Hydrangeas), Mack Brothers, Home Depot, and Lowes Garden Shop all had truck deliveries just in perfect sequence! I never did find the white New Guinea impatiens that I wanted for in front of our jockey but one must always be on the hunt for something … not to worry, I will find these and quite possibly plant them before you finish reading this addition to “Home with Sparkle”!
The Tour was a huge success and worth every bit of the planning and effort. Now the frenzy is behind us and it is time to enjoy. Nothing melts my heart more then when my Janie comes home each day from her internship and before coming inside she snaps pictures and truly appreciates all the different reflections of the early evening lights in the garden. Seeing it through her eyes is the truest beauty of all in the gardens.
As I reflect on the past few weeks, these pictures capture the end result so perfectly but oh how I wish we had taken pictures of some of the soil we used. True gardeners know exactly the true joy of gorgeous soil! Enjoy, and just know it is underneath each bit of beauty doing its job whole heartily!