Calling all gardeners
It’s like all of spring was poised underground, straining to break free of winter’s grip. Suddenly, we went from cold and wet and barren gardens to warm and sunny and gardens overflowing with flowers and that gorgeous green of new foliage and flowering trees just blanketed with every colour in the artist’s paintbox.
And so all the more reason for you to decide — now — to open your garden for Hamilton Spectator Open Garden Week 2018. It runs from Sunday, June 24 to Sunday, July 1. And for it to be a success, it needs you.
The idea is simple: we pick a period for Open Garden Week. 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.
Perhaps you’ve never opened your gardens to strangers. Perhaps you have opened your garden in past incarnations of Open Garden Week but haven’t done so
in a few years.
This is the year. This is the summer in which to participate in one of Hamilton’s great gardening traditions and throw open, or reopen, your garden gate.
Why? Well, here’s a handy six-pack of reasons for you to be part of Open Garden Week this year. 1. Your garden will never
look better — all summer. The great thing about opening your garden to visitors is that it makes you want to implement all those gardening ideas that have been rattling around on to-do lists for years. You’ll get your garden in lovely shape for your day(s) on Open Garden Week and then reap the results all through the rest of the summer. Knowing visitors are coming will make you focus on your garden. Trust me, I know this.
2. You will meet the nicest
people. You will find visitors are kind, appreciative and grateful to you for opening your garden. I’ve opened my garden a half-dozen times now for several hundred visitors (over the years), and I’ve yet to have a bad encounter. It’s a lovely way to meet neighbours and discover strangers really are “the friends you haven’t met yet.” There have been many friendships formed in open gardens and, reportedly, a couple of romances. 3. Your garden is much better than you think it is. Do not be afraid your garden will not measure up. One of the beauties of Open Garden Week is that it is about “real” gardens made by “regular” people. If you find any joy in your garden, so will others. Open Garden Week is made up of great gardens, and gardens on their way to greatness. Wherever yours is on that journey, please share it. 4. You will get some great tips and ideas for your garden. I’ve heard repeatedly from garden “hosts” — people who opened their gardens — that they get great inspiration from their visitors. I get great ideas from visitors. If you have a garden issue or problem, chances are good that one of your visitors has dealt with it in the past. 5. You get to celebrate your achievements with people who know how much work you did. Gardening is very satisfying, and most of the time it’s fun. But it’s also work, and your visitors appreciate that. You will feel good — really good — about your garden and your efforts. 6. It’s not just about flowers. Open Garden Week celebrates every type of garden, from collections of trees or shrubs to “urban farms” where a whole garden is devoted to edibles. Whether your garden is an overflowing cottagestyle garden or a minimalist design, there are visitors who want to see it.
7. Bonus: You get a nifty Open Garden Week sign to let visitors know they’re at the right place — and it doubles as a souvenir of your participation.
Convinced? I hope so. Believe me when I say you will enjoy it and you will be in great company. So here’s how to be part: Send the following information, in this order, to firstname.lastname@example.org
• Nearest intersection or community if it’s a rural address. (Almost everyone has access to GPS or Google maps now.)
• Your name.
• Description of your garden in 25 words or less.
• The dates (from June 24 to July 1 inclusive) and hours you will open your garden.
• A phone number by which the listing can be verified (it will not be published).
Email me the information by
Monday, June 11. This is a firm deadline. The listings will appear in The Spectator shortly before the event begins.
That’s it, folks. Hope to hear from you soon.
Hamilton Spectator Open Garden Week 2018 runs from Sunday, June 24 to Sunday, July 1. And for it to be a success, it needs you.