Praise for Open Gardens by Evelyn Hadden

Does your area offer regular open gardens for touring? I’d love to see my town of Boise participate in the national Open Garden program operated by the Garden Conservancy, but we do have a well-run annual tour organized by the Idaho Botanical Garden.

Each year, there are six to eight open gardens that participants can visit in any order, located near each other within one district of the city.

Last year’s gardens were located in a couple of the wealthier riverside suburbs, and several of them could properly be called estates. This year’s were located in an urban neighborhood featuring fairly large (one to two acre) properties, many of which boasted extensive food gardens.

A food garden from last year’s tour, formal in design, with a non-edible focal point.


A food garden from this year’s tour, more casual and practical in character.

At $20 per person for IBG members, the tour is a real bargain. Not only do the gardens showcase many ideas that can translate to any size garden, but they also demonstrate which plants can be grown well in this area.

I would not have aspired to grow Chilopsis linearis (desert willow) here in Boise, as they are generally said to be hardy only to Zone 7, had I not seen with my own eyes that some can flourish here.

Thanks to this open garden, I know that pawpaws can achieve maturity on the north side of a building in this high desert climate.

And they will even bear fruit.

Another benefit is sheer inspiration: seeing other people’s ideas, appreciating their vision, glorying in the human-nature partnership that makes a garden.


A xeric garden captures the expansive sky and open feel of a low-water landscape.


A sweet manmade wildflower meadow inhabits a riverside clearing.


Hens frolic (or at least peck around joyfully) in their own chicken pasture.

Gardeners are, by and large, generous in my experience. I’m grateful for those who open their gardens so others can appreciate them and get ideas and inspiration from them. I’m also grateful that this year my Mom was able to join me touring the gardens.


Mom sitting near a cleverly staged picnic site in one of this year’s open gardens.


Praise for Open Gardens originally appeared on Garden Rant on June 15, 2016.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s