More than 1,900 visitors were recorded attending and enjoying the 94th Annual Georgetown Garden Tour amid the centennial of the Georgetown Garden Club on May 11. It was a gorgeous day. Almost everyone The Georgetowner talked to was smiling, happy and relaxed. They had record-breaking sales for pre-sales as well as the day of the tour.

About half the visitors we talked to in the gardens (not a representative sample) were Georgetown residents; hardly anyone was there for the first time

“We love to do the tour every year” Robert Shafer said. “Love to see what our neighbors have planted.”

“We come to get ideas for our garden,” one visitor told The Georgetowner. He was taking dozens of photos. But one woman laughed and said, “Well, I find it fun to just get to see the gardens and homes that I don’t get to see otherwise. They are mostly hidden by high walls and fences.”

“We love seeing how the owners use their outdoor spaces,” another said. “For lounging, and relaxing, and outdoor eating. It’s almost transcendental.”

Although many of the gardens were small, many visitors remarked on their variety. “You never know what you are going to find,” one visitor said. “There are always surprises.” Some had few plantings but mainly artistic décor like a large vase or statue.

Still, the gardens everyone seemed to like the best were the two large ones with swimming pools and grass areas big enough for games, large lounge areas with cushiony furniture, outdoor kitchens and even large dining tables set with sturdy outdoor crockery in summery blues and aquas.

But what topped the favorite of all: an actual vegetable garden with cherry tomatoes all ready to pick, and a long row of pink-flowered strawberry plants full of fruit buds and on the wall behind it all, a  spectacular green apple topiary that stretched for at least six feet along the back vegetable garden wall. That garden also had a wall of pink and yellow fragrant roses and beds of giant lavender allium that spilled over one side of the pool with other beds of snap dragons, bluebells and hibiscus imbedded in almost a ground cover of white new guinea impatiens.

“What do you plant for color?” popular Georgetown gardener Valentine Garcia was being asked as he docented one of the many gardens that he designs and maintains in Georgetown. The one he sat in had a pond and beds of varieties of colorful Fox Gloves.

The entrance to the other house with a pool was framed by what looked like perfectly formed (some ten feet tall) redwood trees with trunks of deep burnished bark a stark contrast with its dark evergreen foliage. “ ‘Cryptomeriaest’ it’s called,” said one of the many garden club docents who staffed each house. Just the right size for any gardener who wants an unusual and beautiful focal tree.

“Those are the ideas I come for,” concluded one awed guest.

Additional reportage by Leslie Jewett.

Robert and Ellen Shafer get advice from Georgetown garden expert Valentine Garcia. Photo by Peggy Sands.

Espalier green apple tree with strawberries below. Photo by Peggy Sands.


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