Permission to Dream of Gardens and Gardening

Beth Weir

Dirt-in-the-nails gardeners can now start to dream about their upcoming summer gardens without apology for three reasons. With the advent of 2020 we are now in the same year as the growing season and, as gardeners know, you cannot start planning too soon. The February Northwest Flower and Garden Show, with all its new plants and gadgets to improve the garden experience  is within sight. Last, the engaging British gardening guru, Monty Don, is out with a series on American Gardens.

Having the odd garden catalog show up in your mailbox prods the dreaming into full blown fantasies. The Red Kuri squash advertised by Territorial Seeds is a case in point. The catalog description is a good example of a garden tease: ‘A lovely, teardrop shaped mini hubbard with bright orange skin.’ (Note to readers: It is actually red in the name and in the photograph of same). The blurb notes the flesh is smooth textured with a rich and sweet flavor; good for pies and resistant to cucumber beetles. Who among the dirt-in-the- nails brigade with sun and an urge to grow vegetables could not be tempted?

To this list of three reasons the committee busy planning the Lake Forest Secret Garden Tour of 2020 would like to add a fourth. Scouts have secured the six gardens that will be on the 18th self-guided tour, June 20th.

As is always the case, the six gardens vary in design, plantings and philosophy. One gardener is fond of vegetables and grows them alongside some charming ornamentals. If you don’t find Red Kuri squash there will be something equally as enchanting or unusual.

One of the gardens is truly in keeping with the Secret Gardens theme adopted by the Lake Forest Garden Tour. From the street only a tiny front yard is visible; no hint of the grandeur to come for both the ambulatory and the less physically able visitor. Guests may travel around the house to find stairs leading down to a dramatic main garden. It is possible to wander through a series of paths through a ravine filled withvarieties of Japanese maples, rare astilbes, and a columnar apple tree that presents its fruits to the upper deck. It borders onto a wild greenspace and creek that extends the effect. Visitors who wish to avoid the up and downs can still see a wonderfully layered and textured tapestry from the upper deck.

As is always the case visitors will be able to buy plants at the Lake Forest Park Town Center before heading off to be delighted.  Artists and musicians will be working among the planti gs when you get to the garden itself. Art upon art.

We will keep you posted about purchasing tickets for the tour. Prices will remain at $15 for tickets bought ahead and $20 day of.

All that said: What do you suppose people who don’t garden think about for fun?