Note: The pictures you are about to see are not of my garden. Unfortunately.
On Saturday, my friend Sandie and I went on a bus tour with the Southwest Michigan Hosta Society. We visited four gardens and two nurseries in what was an inspiring, exhausting, sometimes overwhelming, but always gorgeous 10-hour day.
The photo above is just a teeny-tiny segment of the most gorgeous garden I've ever seen! Covering several acres, it was carved into the woods and had the most amazing little hidden surprises everywhere you looked. It was like looking at a garden design book or gardening magazine LIVE and in real time. I cannot possibly begin to describe this garden with words, and I'm somewhat certain my mouth was gaping open the entire time Sandie and I strolled the grounds.
The American Hosta Society National Conference was held in Michigan this year (end of June). Three of the gardens we visited were featured as tour gardens at the conference. (So you know they had to be wonderful!)
This photo is from another garden on the tour. It, too, was just gorgeous! The modest house and yard were located in just your typical suburban neighborhood, but they had converted the entire backyard into a shade paradise!
I'm new to the Hosta Society, but not new to hostas! I have several hostas in my garden. They're easy to grow, take little special care, and love the shade! Like most hosta-lovers, I grow them for the foliage! The leaves come in such a variety of colors, shadings, shapes and sizes. There are hundreds and hundreds of cultivars -- all with clever little names. There are several members of the hosta group that can identify a specific cultivar by name just by quick observation. (I'm not into hostas quite like that. . .) There are other members who have published lists of available cultivars, and they check-off and color code the varieties they have seen, desire, and have -- kind of like a Ravelry Queue. (I'm not into hostas quite like that, either. . .)
I got a kick out of the whole concept of the Hosta Bus Tour (as did my kids. . . )! Can you imagine what the neighbors must think of their already-kooky gardening neighbors when charter buses pull up into the cul-de-sac and MORE kooky gardeners pile out with cameras and notebooks to LOOK at the gardens? I'm pretty sure there's a lot of head-shaking going on. . .
Our last stop of the day was at a West Michigan nursery that specializes in hostas. The crowd went wild! Here's a funny view of the hosta people seeking out new additions for their collections! (It was similar to the frenzy you find at fiber festivals. . .)
Sandie and I purchased one hosta (to split) that we'd seen over and over and really liked during the tours. It's called Whirlwind.
It was a wonderful day! I got so many ideas . . .
Like making your fence look like a wall in a house! Or. . .
Adding colorful features to get people to look UP in your garden! Or, the practical. . .
Finding a style of steps I'd like to add to my own garden!
Gardeners are so creative! Each garden is unique and expressive.
It was a fabulous day! Just wonderful.
But when I got home, and looked at my own garden (NOT pictured anywhere in this post!), I couldn't help but think. . . what have I been doing with my time?