Happy 25th anniversary Open Garden Week
This 25th anniversary is not silver. It’s green.
Green like the trees now coming into full leaf. Green like spring’s emerald lawns. Green like the shoots pushing up through our flower beds. Green like the haze hovering over the landscape where, just weeks ago, it was all browns and greys.
This green anniversary is the 25th edition of Hamilton Spectator Open Garden Week, and this year it runs from Friday, June 30 to Monday, June 10 — a day longer than usual, which gives us all a chance to see even more of this area’s loveliest private gardens.
This milestone year, I’d really like to make a splash. Two local horticultural societies are getting their members involved, which is wonderful. And I’m asking everyone who has ever opened the garden for Open Garden Week, and everyone who has ever thought about opening their garden, to hop on board. It’s going to be a lot of fun — and you get a handy lawn sign that doubles as a great souvenir.
This spring has been wet, yes, but also relatively mild. Gardens are coming up at a rapid pace, fruit trees are in wonderful blossom and even marginally hardy perennials seem to have come through the winter with vigour to spare.
We are on track for a great gardening season and I honestly don’t know of a better way to celebrate it (and this 25th year) than by sharing our gardens with visitors.
I’m thrilled but not really surprised that Open Garden Week has lasted — has actually thrived — through a quarter-century.
Hamilton, Burlington and sur-
rounding areas are not only rich in gardening history and tradition, but also in the unqualified generosity and hospitality of their gardeners.
With Open Garden Week, you’ll get to meet the gardeners, chat with other visitors and get ideas and inspiration. Quick history: Open Garden Week began in 1993 with six gardens open to visitors. It doubled each year for the next several years, peaking five years ago with more than 100 gardens open from Niagara Falls to Oakville, from the shores of Lake Erie to the waterfront of Hamilton. It’s become a big deal to the many people who open their gardens (we call them hosts) and to the visitors who come to see them.
Here’s how Open Garden Week works:
We pick a period for it. You pick the days and hours you are willing to open your garden to any and all visitors. You send the information to me, I compile it into easy-to-follow listings. The Spectator publishes those listings, in the paper and online, in the days shortly before Open Garden Week begins. Visitors show up at the posted times, admire the garden, say nice things to the owner(s), and everyone is happy.
It’s that simple. No charge, no tickets, no tour schedule to stick to.
Every garden is a work in progress, every gardener thinks their garden looked better three days before or will do a week later. But visitors are invariably grateful.
This is a completely free event, so there are no expectations. If a visitor isn’t crazy about a particular garden, so what? It didn’t cost them anything.
Rustic country garden during a previous Open Garden Week event.