Clerking at the Boston Flower Show

IMG_0010I learned something new today. Actually, I learned lots of new things today. I was a  clerk, 2nd clerk to be exact, at the Boston Flower Show assigned to assist several of the judges in the Amateur Horticulture Category. I was instructed  first and foremost to keep my opinions and comments to myself, which required a great deal of self control. Beside this, I was to make myself as helpful as possible by locating the plants which needed judging, running to ask any necessary questions, stapling the right ribbon on the right plant, and throwing away empty water bottles.

It’s not in my DNA to be a fly on the wall.  Nevertheless after today I highly recommend standing silently behind experts as they appraise what they know best. It was fascinating, illuminating, humbling, educational and fun, not to mention a real lesson in cooperative management.

Although organized by professionals, The Boston Flower Show is run  by volunteers. I have been attending the Flower Show for more than a decade, and have volunteered before wearing my Master Gardener hat, but I have to say, even though I have joined the ranks, I am constantly amazed by the knowledge and dedication of the volunteers who year after year keep the Flower Show running. I commend each and every one of my fellow volunteers, including those  volunteers who participate by entering a plant, flower arrangement, photograph or floral display.

The Show  has gone through a few metamorphoses in the past decade. It is not as it was in its prime. It is held in a smaller location with  fewer participants ( although the number of people who visit remains high). Nonetheless, the zeal and enthusiasm of those who do participate is unaltered.

Any of you reading this who would like to participate next year, or visit this year, check out the Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s website:

http://www.masshort.org

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Garden Tour

I am not sure if it is courageous or foolhardy, but I agreed to show my garden on tour this year. On Saturday, an as yet unknown number of strangers will descend and fan out across the garden, wielding their opinions and judgments. I fear for my innocent garden in the face of all those opinions!

This is what is in bloom now in my garden:

Iris and Alliums
Iris and Alliums
Styrax Japonicus/Japanese Snowbell
Styrax Japonicus/Japanese Snowbell
A few salmon colored peonies, and a stray self-seeded lupine
A few salmon colored peonies, and a stray self-seeded lupine

This is what is about to bloom:

New Dawn Roses along the fence
New Dawn Roses along the fence
The long Peony Border
The long Peony Border

This is the blurb I was asked to write to describe my garden:

Amy is a Master Gardener, and a student Landscape History at the Landscape Institute in Boston. Amy designed the current garden from scratch. Before 2005 another house stood on the present site. The previous house was leveled and the property reconfigured to its present condition. Starting with nothing but an idea and a lot of backbone, Amy designed the garden and planted, by herself, almost all the plant material (with the exception of the large trees and some larger shrubs). Amy likes to plant small because 1) it is less expensive and 2) she is then able to do it herself. Peonies are Amy’s favorite flower. The initial peony bed, the one in front of the yew hedge to the left of the house, was planted in 2006. The long peony border, which is along the back of the formal garden, was planted in 2010. The three peony beds within the middle of the formal garden were planted in the fall of 2012 to celebrate a seminal year in Amy’s life (as was the Scarlet Oak / Coccinea Quercus in the front left of the front garden) Amy’s current project, begun in 2011, is the White Border along the stone wall. This border has been slow to progress since finding the specific white perennials desired is proving difficult. The garden has a winter, spring and fall focus.

At this point in the process of preparing my garden to go on tour I have completely lost perspective.  I ask myself (and everyone else in earshot) Is it a nice garden? Is it worthy to go on tour? Should I have waited another year? Should I have pulled out that lavender? Should I have put in that chamaecyparis? In two days time, I may have some answers to these questions.