Do you regret having your garden on a garden tour?

farmerbell(6b TN)August 28, 2005

Has anyone every regretted having your garden on a garden tour? I am concerned about people pifering plants when I am not looking or coming back later and helping themselves to some of my rare plants when I am not home, so I continue to decline the invitation to open my garden to others. Anyone with bad or good experience?

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We went on a local garden tour today. The popular place was where the collector had some of his plants ready to sell, and he did. I think if you sell some plants, it sends a message they are for sale and not taking. Or you could have a box of freebies/cuttings available for guest who want them--the kid in the candy store.

You need to watch out for the total plant nuts who will stop at nothing to get a unique plant.

If you have a group visit for half an hour during a tour, get your family and friends in on the act, so they can keep areas covered, if you are concerned about that, but don't make it too obvious.

I am usually happy to load up my guests with boxes of cuttings.

I think you will find most if not all people are respectful and won't take or steal plants from you. I think it's a good thing to be able to share a nice space with others (and show off a little).

    Bookmark   August 29, 2005 at 1:47AM
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Every year Clean Galveston has a backyard garden tour. Every year I attend the tour. I have never seen anyone taking cuttings. Most of the gardeners are present during the tour but some aren't. And there are not always docents in the gardens, some are just there.
One of the gardens this year had cuttings all potted up with a note to take some.
If you have a lot of rare/unusual/expensive plants I would stay in the garden.
It's actually kind of nice when the gardener is there so you can ask questions, and some people print up a list of what is in their gardens, either with a schematic or with the actual plants numbered.
While I have never had my garden on the tour I very often give tours of my gardens. Often to people that have stopped to answer questions while I was out in the front. I've only had a few plants stolen, and those were from my neighbor around the corner, who I caught w/his granddaughter after they pulled up all the kale along the side of the house. His excuse was "they were just laying there"!! After confronting him I have not had anything else go missing. Well, except the crazy lady who walked by last week with her CLIPPERS and was chopping off flowers like crazy!!! Ran her off.
Never had any problems with anyone I've given a "tour" to. As a matter of fact one lady drops me off plants on a regular basis now.
Tally HO!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2005 at 7:09PM
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MacDaddy(z6a NY)

Hey Beachplant,

Does the crazy lady live nearby? How the heck did she get away? You should set up a camera.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2005 at 10:01PM
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I host a garden party each year. This year, we had so much fun in the spring that my guests talked me into a fall shindig, which will take place on Sept 24, in case any of you wanna come.

I've been clearing out the common stuff so I can grow primarily the unusual plants. When I invite people, I refer them to a website where I've set up rules for attending the party. And most everyone has followed the rules without any problem. No one has stolen anything. Everyone has been very respectful.

One of the things we do at my parties is swap plants. I tell newbies that they can bring anything of value to swap for plants. They can bring jewelry, garden tools, soil, birdhouses, books, furniture, anything they'd put in a yard sale--anything they think they can trade. I am a much more advanced gardener than most, so they bring me Donna Dewberry books and supplies, sawdust, wooden bed frames so I can make garden benches, etc.

With my first party, there were only about 15 people here. And I offered a "plant poaching expedition" thru my gardens. After all the trading was done, each guest was allowed to pick out one special plant they really really wanted from my gardens, and I'd get them a piece of it. Surprisingly, every guest chose something different, so I didn't have to tell anyone I didn't have anymore of a particular plant to share. Everyone left here with something they'd been craving. And most have come back for subsequent parties.

With gas prices so high, I'm afraid attendance to this month's party will be limited. So I may again do the plant poaching expedition. It went over so well a couple years ago.

Have a party. You'll meet fellow gardeners and make new friends. And man, don't you just long to show off? I collect unusual plants because I love them, but I also love to hear people ooh and ahhh as they come around the corner and spot something they've never seen before.

You might also type up a little schpill about your gardens, when you began, how each section came to be, what plants you have in different gardens, what they mean to you, etc. A friend of mine did that recently when her gardens were on tour and people loved all the "history" of the gardens. I'm going to do that for my party this month.

Have a party and have fun with it.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2005 at 9:19AM
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I think it varies by area, but we will never open the nursery or gardens again. Having the tours come through was a nightmare. We had plants broken, stolen, cuttings taken from extraordinarily rare plants, etc...
Unfortunatley it seemed as though the worst problems were caused when very knowledgeable, and or foreign groups came.
One year I hosted a group of Japanese collectors who were in Florida for the Palm Societies annual show and sale at Fairchild. The night of the day that they visited I had holes cut in the greenhouses and EVERY single one of my variegated Raphis palms (over 100), several trays of young cycads, and a large goup of variegated Philodendrons were stolen. I cussed and fumed, but didn't learn my lesson because I hosted a tour of orchid collectors a few months later. Within a couple of days of their visit someone came and stold over half of my variegated orchids.
If you have very valuable plants I would strongly suggest that you don't show them to groups of strangers.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2005 at 11:44AM
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Wow Chris that is awful! I would NEVER take a cutting from someones garden without asking first!
And to cut a hole in the greenhouse and steal ALL the plants! Yikes!
Though I understand in some parts of the country plant theft is a huge problem with people coming in with trucks and workers and digging up everything in sight. Tally HO!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2005 at 8:09PM
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