Weekend garden tour and other doings

I was on the Payne Foundation garden tour this weekend. I hauled along child and GF Juli. Child tolerated it, and even had a good time in some gardens, though he denied it later. Juli got enthusiastic about some of the gardens too, and didn't deny it.

There were highlights or lessons in nearly every garden. One of the things that I paid a lot of attention to were the water features. One in particular was quite nice, perhaps custom made, it was completely in tune with the yard from the standpoint of size, sound (many commercial fountains end up sounding like jets or urinals), functionality, and whimsy. It featured 1/8 copper tubing bent into a question mark-shaped stem that dripped water onto attached copper leaves, recirculating through a bed of gravel. The stem and leaf structures were manifolded to give different rates of flow at each petal. Humming birds are said to love that fountain, drinking from the falling stream. A saucy frog with an umbrella completed the scene. Juli took a few photos, one of which I've posted below - the frog's mouth is aimed up near the bottom of the shot. I might have to try my hand at making my own version of this fountain.

Goldfinches were an animal highlight in the garden of Wildscaping.com's hostess, who was also very gracious despite a bad cold. She had recommendations of a "thistle sock" as a bird feeder for the goldfinches, along with recommendations to buy two or more socks and wash them between uses to spread of a Goldfinch eye disease. She recommended the larger of two commonly available sizes to avoid filling it daily due to the voracious appetites of the goldfinches.

The plants were not everything they could have been due to our unusually low rainfall, but some of the plant highlights that I thought I could use in my own yard were a Carex (sedge) lawn (two kinds, one that spreads by seed and one by runners) and Aristida Purpurea (purple three awn grass, which looks far better in person than in most pictures and was used in several gardens. The previous link has one of the few good pictures that I've seen online).

There were design elements that I enjoyed absorbing too. Perhaps one lesson is to be more daring with little surprise garden paths and hidden areas. I'll try to keep this in mind as I redo my back yard and plan for fall planting in the front.

The weekend ended with a little birthday party for me. I'm now officially in my 5th decade of life. Guests were mostly well-behaved, and appreciated even when misbehaving.


  1. Pictures of hummingbirds surfing on a copper fountain spout posted at http://badmomgoodmom.blogspot.com/2007/05/surfing-hummingbird-style.html

  2. Nice synchronicity that we were blogging about humming birds at the same time. Our hostess at one bird garden this weekend says that hummingbirds (all birds, actually) are far more attracted to running water than to still ponds.