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Glorious Gardens Tour

A good garden tour stirs up a lot of feelings: admiration, wonder, joy. But envy, discontent with my own garden? I admit, a little, but I like to put it within the context of being inspired to make it better. The Glorious Gardens Tour sponsored by the Birmingham Botanical Gardens this year was everything the name implied. The weather was perfect, not too hot, and the tour offered something for gardeners of all tastes. 

The garden tour left me with three main impressions:

1. Stone walls. I want some stone walls! Enclosure creates intimate spaces that make a garden feel comfortable. A large property like mine needs enclosure to prevent the garden from having a feeling of endless sprawl. Yes, I know greenery can be used also, but I love the strength and low maintenance of stone walls.

2. Mushrooms. Cement or cast stone ones. Giant fungi tucked among flowers and woodland plants. 

3. Chickens! All of a sudden I am seeing chickens everywhere. Not long ago a friend suggested I raise chickens. I thought it was a joke and relayed the funny idea to my husband, who, unknown to me, has fond memories from childhood of relatives who raised chickens. Never underestimate the power of fond childhood memories. Are there chickens in my future? I'm not sure yet, but there were chickens at one of the tour gardens.

So those are my inspirations that came out of this year's tour, and here are some photos of these glorious gardens. I hope you enjoy them!

The Mark and Caroline Clark Garden:

The Ernest and Vivian Cory Garden:

The Jane R. and Neil Ross Garden:

The Barbara Saurer and Brad White Garden:

The Ginger and Charles Clark Garden:

Thanks for visiting my blog and taking the tour with me!


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Reader Comments (25)

Garden tours are fun. I went on one last week and am trying to put together a post. They do leave you a little envious. Ironically, I have some friends in Alabama who have some chickens and a goat. I love the A-frame chicken coop.

June 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGirlSprout

The common thread in all these great gardens is stonework, not just walls, but paths and decorative stone items and patios and edging. Stone really does anchor the plants in a garden. There seem to be more than a few snoozing dogs in great gardens too : )

June 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaurrie

I think our pond is asking for a little sail-boat.

Hi Deb
Thanks for great photos of the tour! Checking out other peoples' gardens is half the fun of gardening and when they have been spit-polished and spruced up for tours, you really do see them at their best. I especially liked the frog leaping into one of the pools, the weathered bird house and the sleepy dogs (awww…). I am headed for one in downtown Toronto today. Weather could be better - showers :( but I plan to take many pictures anyway and bask in the atmosphere and beauty created by other gardeners.

June 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAstrid

Deb these are fabulous gardens...I love seeing all the red accents in the Ross garden..I had not seen red bottles in the garden..lots of blue ones but no red...all these gardens are amazing and certainly inspring to me...

Thank you for sharing your tour with us, I love garden visiting and usually come home inspired. Lots of inspiration in your photos, lots of lovely focal points and lots of lovely dogs!

June 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPauline Mulligan

I love looking at other peoples gardens especially ones not usually open to the public that are truely personal gardens. The Yellow Book in the UK is wonderful for this, here in Italy it is often a dissapointment. I enjoyed taking the tour with you and seeing the gardens through your eyes. Christina

June 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Goodness gracious - are the chickens running free?

June 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCecilia Duval

Hi everyone! I appreciate each of your comments very much! Cecilia, no the chickens are not running free. They are inside that cute enclosure with the decorative picket fence in front. The other sides are surrounded with chicken wire fencing.

June 9, 2012 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

The contrast of hard stone wall with soft green plants is very appealing. I like the foliage combinations you showed in the Ross garden, and the way the plants are spilling over top of the top of the walls and between the gaps in the White's garden.

June 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNorthern Shade

Wow! I missed this year's tour. Thanks for taking me on yours through these photos.
The tudor style home of the Clarks is very nice in deed.

June 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterchris

Great tour. I have wanted chickens for years but my husband hates them. I am also worried about them being killed by all our foxes and racoons---bad childhood memories. I have been hesitant to reveal this in print but I don't like bottle trees---they are overdone and no longer unique. However, I love the red one matching the house trim. When you said mushrooms I didn't know what to expect, but I think what you are seeing are antique (or replica) supports for storage houses in England which became all the rage in garden ornaments about 10 years ago around here. I have always wanted one, but, of course, I want a real one and they are amazingly expensive.

Think I would need to have a massive weeding session and clear out before inviting members of the public to my garden ...
The idea that I'm taking away from these photos is a bottle tree for my winter garden.

June 10, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterb-a-g

Incredible beauty Deb!!! Wish I was there with you to ooooo and ahhhhh at all the dream gardens! Yes chickens!! Read up and have good shelter and you will be blessed with tasty treats and lovely ladies! You should visit my cousin Julie at Dog Trot Farm. www.dogtrotfarm.blogspot.com. You will love her blog and her girls!
Thank you for sharing these wonderful places!

June 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEve

Garden tours are certainly fun! I'm glad you all got to see a little bit of what I saw when I visited these glorious gardens. Carolyn, since I read your comment I have been researching those mushroom shaped supports for English storage houses. They are called staddle stones, and you are right: the real ones are beautiful and very expensive!

June 10, 2012 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

Some stunning looking gardens there but no need to be envious as I think your garden is already (if not better) at par with them :) Be inspired though :)

June 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

Wow, love the images and garden moments. So many ideas and lots of color.

June 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

I've just done a tour of not normally accesible London gardens and your collages are an inspirational way of presenting them. Words are not necessessary. Love your post-impressionist summing up too - I look forward to the sound of tiny feet in your woodland garden

June 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLaura@PatioPatch

These do look like some glorious gardens! And yes, I am always a bit envious when I go on garden tours. But mostly, I am just in awe. How do they get all the weeds out? How do they pick up all the stuff that is all over my garden - hoses, black plastic pots, plants to be planted, etc? How do they get it all done? That's what is always going through my mind!

June 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHolleyGarden

Hi Deb! You visited some beautiful and stylish gardens, no wonder you came home with new ideas and new musings! Almost everyone seem to have chickens, treated halfway between a pet and a stylish garden furniture... The only problem with chickens is that they produce a lot of eggs and I don't like eggs! :)
A stonewall is definitely something that I'd like to have too, I'd leave all the plaster mushrooms to you as you like them, and build a long, tall stonewall. It's such a shame my property is all flat, I'd like to have a big slope and build stonewalls as big steps in the slope and grow irises and salvias... *sigh*...

June 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlberto

Hi Deb, Your tour photos look wonderful. I find that June is the best month for garden tours here as well. There always seems to be ideas that I bring home with me.
P.S. Your garden is looking just beautiful in the last post. Love the tropical foliage!

June 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

I cant make up my mind which garden I like best but I think I will have Ginger and Charles house.

June 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlistair

Oh my goodness, but I love garden tours! I feel like I went with you. I can't even pick what was my favorite spot. Beautiful!

June 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobinL

Wow, your pictures really capture the beauty and appeal of these places.

I love stone walls too. There are stone walls all over Chapel Hill and they are part of the character of the town and the university.

June 12, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersweetbay

I think a little envy from time to time is a good thing, especially when it provokes inspiration. One of your photos reminded me that I'd intended to build a few lovely little pyramidal trellises this spring. I'm not sure how we got to mid-June already, so maybe next year! I did get a couple of the expanding willow trellises though, like the one in the Clark's garden. As for chickens, I think you'd have a lot of fun have a few hens around, but I might be a little biased ;)

June 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCurbstone Valley Farm
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