If you already have your Elderyard® in great shape, take time this fall just to experience and enjoy what’s on offer in special gardens in other parts of the US.
Be sure to take your camera to capture garden structures and plant combinations that are visually appealing to you. You may not be able to grow exactly the same plants, but here’s where mindfulness comes in. Take enough time to immerse yourself in studying what’s especially intriguing about the scenes that grab your interest.
Is it the texture contrast? The arrangement of shapes? The combination or contrast of colors? The lines of the plants or the plantings? THAT’S what is transplantable back to your garden.
Here are five exciting gardens and one amazing garden tour worth investigating:
1. Peckerwood Garden, Hempstead, TX – Open day the last Saturday of each month, plus check the calendar for extra open days in October and November. Peckerwood Garden is a Garden Conservancy treasure started by Texas A&M architecture professor and painter John Fairey. Just two hours from Austin, it’s an extraordinary mix of plants, including many gathered during Fairey’s expeditions to Mexico with the renowned Texas plantsman Lynn Lowrey.
2. Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, Washington, DC – 13 acres of glorious formal gardens designed by landscape architects Umberto Innocenti and Richard Webel and shaped into “rooms” to complement the house’s interior. You can guide yourself or take one of the guided garden tours through mid-November. Check out the French parterre with the ivy-covered walls. This quiet green space has enough contrast to be delightful no matter the age of your eyes!
3. Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden, Coral Gables, FL – Palms, cycads, plants from the Bahamas, plants that love the deep sand and swampland that Floridians call soil. Texans can discover tree-sized relatives of our favorite splashy bloomers like red Bird of Paradise. During their Fall Festival Nov 11-13, discover what the change of seasons looks like in a warm climate and experience what to do with pumpkins when heat and humidity don’t play well with carved and candled versions.
4. Boyce Arboretum, Globe, AZ – Globe is a tiny town in the mountains east of Phoenix that’s still heavily dependent on the mining industry. An hour out of Phoenix, the Boyce Arboretum is set in this dry Sonoran desert country. The 3200 plants here are glorious examples of arid climate vegetation across the world. What’s a serendipitous surprise if you visit in the late fall – brilliant colors on the trees and shrubs in a display that competes with New England.
5. Ruth Bancroft Garden, Walnut Creek, CA – An outstanding example of a water-conserving bold Mediterranean dry garden full of gorgeous agaves and succulents. Visiting Bancroft’s garden and discovering there was no plan to preserve it led Anne and Frank Cabot to start The Garden Conservancy in 1988. Bancroft was educated as an architect and self-taught as a gardener, developing many unique approaches to combining succulent plants that are admired and copied today. A new book on bold design from this garden comes out alter this month.
6. Dallas Master Gardener Association, October 1 is their fall tour of 5 very different member gardens from native plants to Southern formality to grasses and a bee-loving, pollinator friendly garden. Master gardener groups always showcase amazing gardens and freely share advice on what works – and what lessons they’ve learned from. This tour is a lovely way to see design ideas implemented at a realistic scale for the homeowner.
You'll return refreshed, relaxed and nurtured from the experience of bathing in the world of plants even if you don't change a thing in your own yard!
Whether you are a “mad-keen” gardener or work with a landscape architect or designer to make gradual changes in your home landscape, looking at what’s been done by others – and translating that through the lens of Elderyarding® - your yard truly can sustain you agelessly.