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Come to a Spring Open Garden

Everyone who is interested and able is invited to come and walk through my garden on Saturday, May 24th, from 9 am until noon at my home, 1508 Burning Tree Lane, in north Brandon. Come and bring a car or a bus full of friends.

Ernestine Steven's high hanging baskets bring dazzling color to eye level.

Although I've always said it takes me until fall to get my garden good enough to open, this year I am breaking the rule.

High times, a garden looks great. Dry times are iffy. It can look great early in the morning and parched by noon, wilted until four o'clock, and then good again when the sun eases up. It would be a good idea, heat wise and otherwise, to come as early as you can.

I've been to some beautiful gardens lately that showed no sign of stress or drought. One should not covet his neighbor's garden, but it is all right to be inspired, to dream a bit.

In my expanse of sheer dust, it is a wonder that anything is living at all, that so much is blooming, that there are green beans and tomatoes to pick.

Besides the drought that is natural to this time of year, it is now the time of transition from winter to summer annuals. The sea of nasturtiums that has covered my garden for much of the winter has turned and I've been reluctantly pulling them out a few at a time. They continue to bloom, so it is not easy to be ruthless, but necessary since many of the leaves are turning brown. It helps to know that they will self sow and be back in the fall. But in the meantime there will be some empty spaces. Some people will come just to see some empty spaces in my jungle.

We also had the star fruit tree and the mulberry trees removed in January, so there are even more open spaces. I'm doing my best to get my garden as neat as possible but this spring best will make you appreciate the fall best. Inviting people to come gives the ultimate motivation. The Gardening for the Soul group planted the seed that sprouted into this spring event.

Most of the gardens I visit are at least 98% neat and if I find a weed or two it is a comfort. I don't know how people get things that perfect. I admire them greatly, but I can't manage to imitate them. Mine will be good to be 75% neat.

Ernestine Steven's garden, which will be featured next week, was a blaze of color with baskets of blooms hanging at eye level. "We had three of those iron poles with shepherd's hooks to hold four baskets," she said. "And I got three more (at Home Depot)." Her garden would still have looked great without them, but they made it magnificent.

So I knew for sure what I wanted for Mother's Day, and my husband got me one. Only then did I begin to wonder what I had that I could hang on it. So far I have five baskets that are mostly foliage. But this is one of my goals now. Every time I get four fabulous baskets, I'm going to invest in another.

She also had neat brick edging around all of her beds, a work she had done herself. I may never achieve anything like that. There is good reason why I'm not going to show you her garden until after I open mine.

But gardens are not a place to grow guilt. No matter what time of year or what still needs doing, there is always something reliably beautiful, and often lovely surprises. The cassia I was told would bloom in the summer but didn't bloom until October last year is starting to bloom in early May this year! The hidden ginger has been blooming for months. I'm the only one who has seen it, but knowing it is there gives me a wonderful feeling.

There will be some free cuttings from specially marked plants and seats in the shade. Sharon and I will be there answer your questions. Looking forward to seeing you in a spring setting.