is much to be learned from a garden walk
Published Aug. 6, 2008
setting a date for a community garden walk, there is always the
fear that the weather will not cooperate. Fortunately, this was
not the case for the recent Westlake Gracious Gardens Tour. It would
not have been any fun if the heavens had opened with one of the
cloudbursts that we have become familiar with this summer.
It was not only a good day weatherwise, but also an
interesting experience for members of the Westlake Garden Club,
serving as hostesses at the various locations.
A big thank you must be extended to all the homeowners
who so willingly offered their gardens to be included in this tour.
Every one of the properties offered its own unique image. Visitors
could experience the vision the owners have for their own gardens.
There were some questions asked that I would like
to answer in this column. The most asked query was: Who selected
the properties? Westlake Garden Club had a committee of three: Lu
Walter, Shirley McClimon and myself. As this was a city-sponsored
event, Lynn Brady from the Westlake Development Department met with
the three of us to plan the garden tour. Lynn is the person who
has ably spearheaded the Westlake in Bloom contest since its inception.†
The first criterion was that all the gardens selected
had to be past winners of the Westlake in Bloom contest. The fact
that some of the homeowners had entered the competition this year
had no bearing on the selection. We only picked past winners. This
yearís awards ceremony was held two days before the garden walk.
It was impossible to select this yearís winners and organize the
whole event in two days.
The second criterion was that the homeowners had to
agree to have their gardens open to the public. This placed great
responsibilities on those willing. Every one of the gardens was
in perfect shape and nary a weed to be seen. The commitment made
resulted in backbreaking hours to have the property show worthy.
The third criterion was not met in two of the eight
gardens on tour. We had requested that at least one of the owners
be on site the day of the happening. There was a good reason for
that request. As gardeners and owners of the property, the visitors
could interact with the people who do all the work and share their
stories. The owners answered many questions and had a chance to
connect with others that truly appreciated all their efforts. Plant
availability and care were only a few of the questions on the table.
This brings me to those that told me that so and so
had a garden every bit as beautiful and why did they not get on
the tour? You cannot be a winner unless you enter the Westlake in
Bloom contest.† In other
words, if you donít buy a ticket you canít win the lottery.
There will always be people that question the wisdom
of how the selections are made. Almost everyone on this tour had
only the most positive comments to make. I remember the lady that
said, ďI think I have died and gone to heaven.Ē Others observed
that it was a charming way to start at the Porter property and thus
getting to enjoy the lovely tunes of the harpist.
The Westlake Garden Club is grateful to the city for
their complete cooperation. Thanks to this joint effort, a worthwhile
scholarship for those interested in horticulture, the environment
or related studies, will be awarded to a Westlake student in 2009.
The biggest thank you has to be extended to all those
wonderful homeowners who were willing to have a few hundred people
come to their garden and share their knowledge. Phone numbers were
exchanged and who knows, friendships may develop.
There is one outcome of this that very well might
insure more beautiful neighborhoods in the whole Westshore area.
Representatives from other communities enjoyed the tour to see what
they could learn from this event. Fairview Park is one community
that is starting to plan for their own garden tour next year.