Monday Opinion: The Garden Cruise Event

It is never that hard to spot a gardener.  They treat everything associated with it as an event worthy of celebration. Ther excitement is genuine-even when there is a threat of thunderstorms looming, and an unwavering forecast for 89 degrees.  The weather proved to be something other than predicted; an overcast sky made it infintely easier to tolerate the heat.  By day’s end, people began to filter in to our reception; we were ready for them.  Christine, Monica and Jenny-looking good!

Ms. Minnie has a garden every bit as exuberant and extravagantly dressed as she is.  I would never garden as she does, nor would she garden as I do-but we are gardening friends.  She came with friends in tow all looking like they were all on their way to church.  This analogy is not far off, really.  Gardening people, people concerned about the environment, naturalists, zoologists and biologists, horticulturalists-no end of people have the idea that anything associated with the living world demands proper respect. As in, go to church, and thank God for what you have.  

I do not own a single outfit as sumptuous as Minnie’s, but I view every aspect of landscape and gardening as an event.   This is why I so enjoy the garden tour.  I have long since quit fretting about the one rose I missed in my deadheading rounds before a tour.  Gardeners understand that a landscape is an evolving set of events that even the most dedicated would be hard pressed to keep up with. They talk lots about what looks good and is working, and studiously ignore what languishes.  Sometimes things in a garden just sulk, no matter what you do.

Judy presented a rather extraordinary picture with this maple helicopter firmly affixed to her nose.  Did you know that is you split one open, it is sticky on the inside?  I did not.  Apparently she and her brother would stick themselves all over with helicopters when they fell.  I was glad I had missed picking some up before the tour-how else would I have learned this, but for my less than perfect housekeeping? 

Skirts and shorts were the order of the day.  This picture says nothing about the heat, just everything about a group of devoted gardeners getting together, and happy to share their love of gardens.

Julia Hofley, noted garden speaker, and her husband Eric, owner and publisher of The Michigan Gardener, are gardeners of the most serious sort.  They go as many places, in as many countries as they can manage-visiting and learning about gardeners and their gardens. They study and are most articulate about everything from dwarf conifers to roses hardy in our zone to design to effective deer repellant. They are enthusiastic and articulate advocates of the natural world and all that goes with.  They managed to take this picture of themselves with my camera; I have no idea what their process was here. This might be the most evocative picture of the day-intense interest and pleasure in participating in the event-all over their faces.

I used to draw conclusions about women and gardens, based on the footwear-but no more.  I have seen no end of open toed high heels, snappy sandals and dressy outfits navigate a landscape without any problem.  Why not-gardens are for partying as much as anything else. In this case, I think there may have been a change of clothes for the reception on the part of one guest, but not the other. Do not they both look great?

No matter the dress, it was clear there was an event going on.  As long as as there are gardens, there will be garden events. Celebrations around the seasons.  It is important and satisfying to help make things grow. 

If you were not able to make the reception for the 2010 garden tour, perhaps you’ll be available in 2011.  It was a heck of a lot of good fun. Fast and furious discourse.  Exchange.  Intelligent and imaginative exchange.  All the things that people do best.

The Garden Tour

This coming Sunday is the date of the third garden tour my companies have sponsored to benefit the Greening of Detroit.  Should you not be familiar with this organization, I can provide my overview.  The have been planting trees by the thousands in the city of Detroit for the past twenty years.  They sponsor some 700 urban farms.  They teach.  They teach people how to grow food.  They help people to understand the importance of a healthy environment.  They have an uncanny ability to translate an idea into a working organization.  They impress me.  They work incredibly hard to make a dent in support of  what an industrial city neglects.  Trees-the planet needs lots of them.  The residents of our city-they are getting what they need to live, expand, and eat from the Greening.  The Greening of Detroit-look them up.

The noted architect Michael Willoughby persuaded me to take a place on the Greening board.  I have little to contribute as a board member, but I told him I would do what I could to raise money for their programs.  They are an organization that makes a giant difference to my greater community.  I am incredibly impressed with what they do. The 20,000 trees they have planted in our greater metropolitan landscape over the past 20 years-worthy of your attention.  My response-a garden tour.

 The tour involves gardens of my design, or my influence.  The tour ends at my shop-Detroit Garden Works.  We serve finger friendly dinner, and Rob’s gin and tonics.  Christine oversees the wine bar. I feel I should support the work of the Greening of Detroit-so I do.  Every dollar of every ticket sale goes to them.  I donate the rest, as well I should.  We are open Sunday morning, the day of the tour, at 8:30 am.  We are ready for you.

I so believe that a healthy planet, a beautiful landscape, a thriving relationship between people and plants is important.  I have devoted a life and a career to this-why would I not support the Greening?  Please support the work of the Greening of Detroit. This coming Sunday-please join us.  If you are able, please donate, and tour.  Our afterglow is a blast-try it.  A giant group of people who love gardens and landscape in one place for an evening in July-what could be better?  Please join us.

For all of you gardeners that signed up to put your landscape on this tour-many thanks.  I know every one of them favors a green Detroit.  In the interest of a green Detroit, take the tour.   Thanks, Deborah