Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Touring gardens in the rain (B'ham Open Garden Tour)

This past Saturday Michael and I trekked to Birmingham for another Open Gardens Tour (there was a previous one in April). It was raining and thundering when we left home and probably for the first time in the history of mankind, the massive storm system was moving southeast (whoever heard of such??) directly in line for Birmingham. We were undeterred and hoped for the best.

I was most excited about seeing the garden of Louise Wrinkle. She has been featured in many books and articles and her garden is legendary. After many starts and stops - (Mountain Brook is the hardest place to find streets even when you have a map)- we located her garden. We entered from the side street here -

Click on photo for larger image



As we walked up a long paved pathway through a gorgeous wooded garden, it started to rain. We purchased our tickets and briefly spoke with Mrs. Wrinkle before hurrying on to see what we could before the bottom fell out. The lighting was so dim that many of my photos were dark. I also did not have my tripod with me and the slow shutter speeds caused many to be blurry.










Heading back down, the bottom dropped out.




That's Michael in the distance wishing he were somewhere else.



Mrs. Wrinkle had a 5 page handout of the plants in this garden and it was single-spaced! I have an invitation to come again so hopefully it won't rain on the next trip.

Garden #2 was the beautiful garden of designer Tony Rhone. Mr. Rhone's garden was featured on the previous tour but I wanted Michael to see these statues. We couldn't figure out how to get them in the car.







It wasn't just raining when we were at this garden, it was lightening! And you know how some days just don't go your way? When we stepped out of the car, my camera bag fell open, my camera slammed into the pavement and I thought I had shattered my lens. Fortunately, I had a UV protector over the lens and it only broke the filter. Close call!

Garden #3 - there was a lull and it actually didn't rain at all for this one. This house was situated on a steep hill and the landscaping was immaculate. The garden designer is John Wilson, a super nice and talented guy.



















We skipped the last garden. We actually drove by it but could not figure out where to park. The instructions said to park on the street but it was a narrow street. We had already risked our lives with the weather elements, all we needed was to get rammed by another vehicle.

The second half of the day was quite nice. We went to The Summitt which has a Smith and Hawken! We found a unique little plant called String of Pearls. Thank goodness there is not one of those stores in Florence! We also had dinner at PF Chang's and dessert at Ben & Jerry's. And Old Navy had all their men's clothing half priced and I picked up a few things. And wouldn't you know it, the sun came out after we got there!

17 comments:

  1. Those are some very nice gardens you shared.

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  2. Fabulous gardens. Too bad the weather was so unfriendly. I've been on a few rain/wind garden tours so I feel your pain. We had weird weather a few weeks ago with a violent storm coming from the SE--an exceedingly rare occurrence.

    Sounds like all in all it was a great day. Glad your camera is okay.

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  3. At least the rain kept the crowds down. Garden #3 was very nice, but I really liked the architecture of the house.

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  4. Wow. And wow! I recently did a nursery tour int he rain... and it looked like the local garden walk would be rained out but it stopped all day, just in time for the start! Today it's pouring...

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  5. I don't know why every time there is a garden tour I want to attend in Bham, I have other plans already!

    I love the Williams & Sonoma shop at the Summit too. :)

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  6. Hi Phillip, you obviously need a bigger vehicle to bring home your statues;)

    Those are fabulous gardens. With only myself to do all the work those styles are far beyond my ability to achieve.

    I have a garden club walk to visit this afternoon and the weather does not look good.
    Marnie

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  7. Well done for not submitting to the elements.

    Some nice gardens there.

    Those are very classical statues. You'll need a trailer and a careful drive to get those home, ha.

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  8. Lovely gardens! Sometimes I long for a garden with straight, nice edges instead of a meandering meadow! I love seeing the formal, manicured gardens after looking at my chaos all the time!

    Cameron

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  9. Oh my!!! I love it all, but the statues are to die for. I dream of having one (or two, or three) someday here. I have just the spot! I wanted to go on a tour last weekend and it was rained out. So it is fun to see these pictures in the comforts of home!

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  10. The first garden looked especially interesting.

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  11. I would love to ask Mz Winkle why in the world she chose blacktop for a path through the garden. That would have disappointed me. Of course walking during a storm your feet wouldn't get muddy. I just don't like the look of it. Yet your eye is drawn on by the wonder plants. I am glad your camera survived the drop. What a scare. I bet you were ready to head home after that mishap. You ended with a perfect day...garden tour, eating and shopping.

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  12. Shoot about the weather! But you did take some great photos and I too love those statues. Next time, take a trailer.

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  13. Too bad the weather didn't cooperate, but you definitely got some great pictures. I really need to find out about garden tours around here. I'm sure there are some in Seattle.
    PF Changs is a great way to finish the day!

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  14. Thank you for sharing ... pure delight! (Happy to know no damage done to camera :) Sounds a bit like weather here ... our garden club coctail party was enjoyed in between storms :)

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  15. Great tour! I wasn't able to go in person, so I especially appreciate your pictures. I'm sorry the weather was so unpleasant.

    Sounds like one of those challenging days that tempt one to give up in the middle of it but then things get better and it ends up being a good day.

    Barbara H.

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  16. What a shame it was raining for your tours, but you did get some nice photos. Those first two gardens are so lovely. Glad your camera was okay. I can just imagine the angst if it the lens would have been damaged.

    Jan
    Always Growing

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  17. Nice photographs collection and a nice place to visit

    Sunil

    Cash Online Get Easy cash at your door step

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