We’ve been lucky enough to visit some of the most famous gardens in the world including Kew, Sissinghurst, and Kensington in England, Netherlands’ Keukenhof at tulip time, the National Arboretum in Washington, DC, Montreal’s Botanic Gardens, to name a few.
On July 8 we toured seven outstanding gardens right here in Montgomery County, Virginia, during the 22nd annual New River Valley Garden Tour, the best yet. I emoted all the way home.
They are different from each other, each enviable in unique ways, but if I had to pick just one, it would be the one where rust prevailed. Yup, rust.
The Angle-Relf garden is tucked away on a narrow winding road, set on a hill hidden from view if you headed east. The couple bought the rundown 40-year-old house in 1976 and set about taming its weed-covered four acres that was overly populated with locust and cedar.
To call their creative idyll imaginative is to beg a look at a Thesaurus for better adjectives to do it justice, perhaps fanciful or inspired or quixotic. The pair reclaim and recycle with humor and vision, and always with rusty overtones.
All you need is a rusty propane tank, a bucket and other odds and ends, and voila, a cow!
Wok, tractor seat, and shovel make faces with the help of pie plate, muffin tin, and other rusty bits.
Paint brushes are wide-eyed and all stuck-up.
Mandevilla aka rocktrumpet brightens a corner of the wraparound deck.
Hosta in the kitchen sink.
Wild colors flung about with abandon.
Marigolds blend with rust tones.
What else but a water garden?
Cement encrusted hats rest on bowling ball hat stands
Tour de France rejects.
Round and round: hayrack wheel, BBQ grill, microwave rack.
Retired watering cans.
Children’s clothes cast in plaster mix.
Garden tools make art.
Breezes blow fabric art where rust reigns.
This year’s seven gardens, the Angle-Relf’s, plus the Golden’s, Hagood’s, Hammett’s, Ryan-Plunket’s, Schnecker’s and Wickham’s all all provided multiple chances to fall in love with gardening. It was an absolutely picture-perfect, weather-perfect day.
350 beautiful green acres framed by stream and mountains.
White campanula (bellflower) is a flag against the sky.
Brilliant red of Crocosmia (lucifer) blends patriotically with blue sky and white clouds.
Spring-fed trickle edges garden.
Campanula, aka bellflower or harebell.
Brilliant blue garden accents.
An exuberant dahlia.
Millstones are fountains in cascading stream.
I don’t even like gladioli but these are fantastic set between the brilliant wicker chairs and against the folly walls that are shingled with yellow poplar bark.
Every garden needs a rope swing…
and every front porch, one like grandma’s.
Invitating spot to admire a sweeping valley view.
July 4 fireworks by Mother Nature..
Onions, beans, and tomatoes make a garden too.