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Open Garden Day Chez Moi

Last Saturday it suddenly occurred to me that after weeks of moving plants around and the construction of a privacy screen, my garden was finally looking good. And it would stay that way through July 4, when a slew of old friends would be gathering for our yearly reunion.

Plus, the forecast for the weekend was perfect – high ’80s, low humidity, and no chance of rain.  So I figured why not invite neighbors to see my garden’s progress and maybe get some ideas.  The inviting took about 5 minutes via local Yahoo and Facebook groups, and the next afternoon local gardeners and gardener-wannabees stopped by and made those sounds of approval and delight that gardeners frankly love to hear.

I took note of some of their favorite plants and garden spots, and here are the ones I could hear and remember.  I like their taste.


This little space between the porch and the privacy screen my neighbors built seemed to be everyone’s favorite part of the garden.  The vine is Bignonia (Crossvine) and the groundcovers are Creeping Jenny on the left and a creeping Sedum on the right.

Not long ago I posted photos of it to this blog, asking for suggestions, and got some great ones.  Next I posted photos before and after staining the screen that forest green.


Writing about this spot prompted me to find the “before” photo from the fall of 2011 when I bought the house.  It was filled with scruffy, misshapen azaleas and some weeds.


Another spot people stopped to comment on was in front of this pot of coleus – such a gorgeous color, they exclaimed!  Yes indeed, and that’s just one plant.


More coleus containers people commented on.

Now about the Tibetan prayer flags.  I hung them to give the back yard extra screening while the four Cryptomerias are growing up, and now that they’re tattered and faded, I’ve come to love them.  Turns out, I’m not the only one.


And here’s the entrance to the garden from the rear sidewalk (interior, backyard sidewalks are iconic here in Historic Greenbelt, MD, and unique among planned communities, I’m told).  On the left is the aforementioned privacy screen that I’ll stain green to match the other one as soon as the wood has dried out a bit.  It’s in the same style as the one my neighbor built, only shorter and more open.


I had a wonderful time during the Open Garden just meeting, greeting, and talking gardening, and was delighted to be sent the link to this blog post about my garden from one of camera-wielding visitors, who happens to be a local blogger.  The light was so harsh, I didn’t expect her to get any decent shots but she used her close-up lens to shoot scenes I never even see.  What gardener doesn’t love seeing their garden from someone else’s eyes and camera viewfinder?

Open Gardens are Great

Casual Open Garden events are so easy, so social, and really helpful to new and experienced gardens alike – that’s the pitch I made to the community when I invited them to this one and encouraged them to host their own.  Three people have already declared their intention to do it.  Sure, they’ll wait until their garden looks its best, and the weather forecast favorable but hey, they intend!  I kept refreshments down to the easiest possible offering – lemonade, nuts and grapes.

Posted by Susan Harris.

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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