If you're like me, you walk or drive through neighborhoods picking out houses you'd like to live in, admiring (or castigating) their taste in paint, plants or garden art. (Tires? Spare me!) I tend to have my favorites picked out, homes whose owners seem to have the sophistication, time or money that I lack. And often, though I walk sloooooooowly by or stand on tiptoe straining for a glimpse, their yards are set too high above the street or behind a high fence or dense shrubbery. Unlike some people (Bruce?), I'm too shy to walk up their driveway for a good look.
But the other day I was driving down the street and noticed that two homes on my favorites list were part of a Hardy Plant Society of Oregon garden tour. Having joined the HPSO just the week before, I swerved to the curb and parked. Hoping they wouldn't be checking ID, since I hadn't yet received my card, I walked up the front stairs and into a gardener's wonderland, with plants and art and outdoor living spaces that I can only dream about.
These tours are scheduled year round almost every week, and those who pay the $35 yearly membership fee receive an Open Garden Book that lists them all. There are also lectures, a newsletter, book sales, seed sales and study groups in addition to two annual plant sales in the fall and spring. Not to mention members who are more than eager to share their knowledge and, I would imagine, the occasional cutting.
As a new member, I'll definitely let you know how it goes. In the meantime, if you'd like to join you can do so online or download the membership form here and mail it in. And I'll see you at the next tour!