One day I hope my kids start their own garden, but you never know. It might be such that they’ve had enough. But I don’t think so. As I listen to their daily conversation, much of it is centered around the gardens of their home. Maybe not directly, but clearly, the gardens are part of their lives.
As one child speaks to another, with one asking where the soccer ball may be, the answers come easy, “Check the Red Bed, I thought I saw it there.” With another chiming in with, “No that was yesterday, I saw it in the Herb Garden this morning.” I guess they forgot I changed the name of the Herb Garden to the Rock Garden. But I can forgive them. No doubt, it will always remain the Herb Garden to them; that’s OK with me.
After naming the garden Helen’s Haven™, I named the individual gardens within Helen’s Haven at the same time. It was done as a way to identify the gardens. I learned this from Nancy Goodwin of Montrose. She named her gardens to make it easy to direct staff and volunteers. Although I had no need to do this, I still thought it was clever and decided to do it too. It has proven to be useful. We can use the garden name to refer to something. For example, when referencing a garden area, we can say the Woodland Too Garden as a point of reference and we all know what that means. We say this instead of, “In the back, up by the Chestnut tree.” Hmm, maybe that isn’t the best example since that sounds kind of nice, but hopefully, you get the idea.
The garden’s naming started at the street on the south side. From there, I made a large loop around our half acre lot, with detours as needed to stop by each bed. This was a good practice in that it also suggested the best way to route visitors. Today, when I give the nickel tour of the gardens, I start at the street on the south side.
The garden tour starts with the Red Bed. Depending on the person or persons I’m giving the tour too, will determine if we go into the Red Bed. I always want too, but some people are more into gardens than others, literally. Believe it or not, some gardeners are happy to admire from the sidelines. I happen to like to go inside a garden, when I can.
From the Red Bed, we go to the Mailbox Garden. I like showing the sign on the mailbox that reads, “A Waterwise Garden, Watered with Harvested Rain.” I think it say a lot about my gardening practices – Waterwise, sustainable, and smart!
The Rose garden is next, but since I will be replacing the majority of the roses, it will soon get a new name. What goes in there will probably dictate the garden’s name, but I don’t know what that will be yet.
Then we come to the Sidewalk, La Petite Potager, Northern Border gardens before ducking under the Cross Vine that needs pruning. It always needs pruning. The vine likes to drip and I like it when she does. Each pass through the arbor is met with the loving touch of Bignonia capreolata.
Once in the back, there are a couple of directions to go. When the garden has been open for large tours, over say a two day period, I often sit on the back patio to watch visitors as they enter the gardens.
I recommend people go from the Rock Garden, to the Back Porch One Garden and straight onto the Mixed Border. That’s where I will be sitting. The back patio parallels with the Mixed Border. We have a wonderful view of the gardens and the wildlife who visit.
In doing so, though, I recommend back tracking a bit to go up the steps between the weeping cherry allée. This allows for a nice visit to the Children’s Garden, Woodland Garden One, the Crinum Garden, and Woodland Garden Too. While you are up at the top of the gardens, the back of the Mixed Border presents herself nicely.
I often watch as visitors redo that loop. I figure they couldn’t have all lost an earring, so I assume they want to enjoy the experience again. You exit the back gardens down the rain garden path on the South Side border.
If you visit in the fall, you will most like go home with seeds of some sort. I love to share a bit of my garden with those who visit.
I hope you will visit my garden one day. If it’s light outside, you are welcome to come. If you see me on the back porch, please come on in and join me by sitting a spell.
Helen Yoest is a garden writer, speaker and garden coach through her business Gardening with Confidence™.
Helen is the founder, publisher and editor of:
Tarheel Gardening – your online resource for North Carolina gardening enthusiasts.