Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Margie's Kentucky Garden

My husband calls me a faux extrovert. I can pretend to be outgoing, but I’m really rather shy. After learning that my coworker, Margie, was an avid gardener, it took me four months to approach her. Although frightened by her big hair, I managed to awkwardly blurt out “I want to see your garden!” in our very first conversation. One would think my mother taught me no manners at all.

Margie is a Kentuckian, so I suppose she’s used to people speaking their mind. She forgave my lack of tact and invited me to her Longaberger open house, not to buy baskets, but to view the grounds. I arrived at the end of the event and felt like a complete goon as I bypassed the party and headed for the yard, camera in hand. My sense of awkwardness quickly passed as I became absorbed with the scene.

Margie has surrounded two sides of the house with a bright and cheery flower border. Beneath the deck, she has a shady retreat, complete with a porch swing and an envy-inducing potting bench. In the enormous back lawn, she created four different garden: a perennial bed, a scented garden, a remembrance garden, and a secret, shade, garden (pictured left). The gardens, scattered across the lawn like jewels on a velvet cloth, are absolute treasures.

A garden, like an art museum, must be explored at a slow stroll, with frequent stops. Because I tend to become overwhelmed and hurried, I have to make a deliberate effort to "stop and smell the roses." I start by trying to identify every plant I see. Once I am really studying the scene, I begin to notice the subtleties that make a garden so enjoyable: the juxtaposition of contrasting colors, the clever use of garden art, and the lushness of an overflowing container. As my appreciation for the display grows, so does my envy. I want that and that and that and that and that. I contented myself with taking only pictures.

Margie joined me as soon as her hostess duties would allow. She was quite tolerant of me constantly asking: “What is that?” She shared her successes, her failures, and her future plans. Hearing the narrative behind each garden made the experience that much richer. We concluded the tour by paging through her scrapbook. I exclaimed over the before and after photos. Over the period of nine years she had gone from nothing but grass to paradise.

As I left, Margie sweetened the afternoon by offering bits of her perennials when the weather cools down. Then she ordered me to host the next garden tour, causing me to bashfully demur till next summer at least. While I am brave enough to show my carefully edited pictures to the internet, I am not yet confident enough in my garden’s merits to invite someone to drive 40 minutes to see it. I suppose my garden is a bit shy like me. We could both do with a dose of Kentucky brashness.

Margie’s Garden Photoset

P.S. Can someone explain the Longaberger basket phenomenon to me?

9 Comments:

Blogger Dianne said...

Thanks for sharing Margie's lovely gardens.(Please tell her it is fab from Dianne in Penna.) She likes zinnias and blue salvias like me.
And this lady works full time? Wow!
I think the baskets are popular because they are limited editions. I have one that holds the remote controls and that's it.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What fantastic photos! I love the shady area under the trees...I can't wait to get started on our landscaping projects!

I've never understood the basket phenomenon either. It's a strange culture.

Heidi
http://statelyenglishmanor.typepad.com

2:36 PM  
Blogger OldRoses said...

I have Garden Envy now. Thanks so much to both you and Margie for sharing her wonderful garden with us.

I've heard of those baskets but never actually seen one.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Takoma Gardener said...

I LOVED this post, so I add my thanks. And I have a question. Who is Fennelgrl and how did she come to have a photoset of Margie's garden? Perusing Fennelgrl's stuff on Flickr was fun and a little inspirational.

5:11 AM  
Blogger Kasmira said...

Fennelgrl is my alter ego. I took digital pics of Margie's garden and loaded them onto my flickr account. The photo sets listed in the sidebar all go to the Fennelgrl account.

Regarding the shady area, if you are attempting something similar, you might want to know that Margie had to truck in many loads of topsoil and is still fighting the tree roots for moisture. I suggested cyclamen, because I heard that they do well in dry shade.

Glad you enjoyed the post! I feel like a slacker for allowing a week to elapse between entries.

7:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a cult (Longaberger baskets, that is)

9:36 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Opening your garden to outside eyes is scary. My friend wanted to bring her mother out to see mine...

It went fine.

A week later, the garden looked so much better! LOL. Isn't that the way it goes?

Have her come by in spring when everything always looks fresher and lusher and thriving!

9:50 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Wow! Oh wow! I especially love the photo at the "contrasting colors" link. I only wish I could have a garden like that, but after this spring's non-successes, I'm afraid my thumb is more like a sickly shade of black. :(

12:07 PM  
Blogger Lolo said...

I loooove the potting bench! Was that purchased or is that something that was made at home?

5:03 PM  

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