One of the best parts of my work as a garden writer and speaker is sharing with my audiences and community the exquisite beauty I encounter in the gardens I visit and in the gifts that gardening has to added to my life.
Why is sharing the beauty of the garden one of my favorite parts of this work?
Because #GardenBeautyIsJoy and what I most wish to do in my writing and speaking is to inspire more joy through the love of the garden — whether that’s supporting you in tending your own garden, or encouraging you to enjoy the gardens others have carefully curated and cultivated.
I recently had the opportunity to thoroughly ‘inJOY’ my love of gardening and to experience the artistry of other’s gardens while attending the annual GardenComm conference in Salt Lake City.
For a garden enthusiast, GardenComm is a slice of heaven on earth. The 4-day event draws gardening industry all-stars, offers dynamic education sessions, and of course the opportunity to experience many exquisite garden-tour events — all with some of the most down-to-earth, knowledgeable, and fun-loving people in the world of gardening.
There’s nothing quite like learning alongside and meandering through spectacular gardens with other gardening speakers, writers, photographers, bloggers, growers and product manufacturers who are just as passionate as you are about the thing you most enjoy.
Being immersed in this kind of learning and community experience expanded my understanding, helped me gain new insights and build connections with others who are also inspiring more joy through their love of the garden.
What about gardening brings you joy?
Would you like a little inspiration? I’ve put together my highlight reel from visiting some of the most spectacular gardens in Utah for you. Please join me for a virtual stroll together through these most gorgeous gardens …
When I saw the entrance to this garden, I knew we were in for a treat!
A perfect example of thrillers, fillers, and spillers in #ContainerGardening.
Check out the contrasts of colors, textures, and shapes in this planting.
The Carousel Garden at the Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point. Yes, those are hula hoops hanging from the Carousel. What fun!
And how about this Secret Garden? To find your way here, you have to travel through a semi-lit cave — which definitely added to the mystery and experience of landing in this treasure of a garden. So lovely. So tranquil. All you want to do is simply sit and be still. I didn’t want to leave!
No ‘Best of’ garden tour is complete without the breathtaking beauty of an Italian Garden, and with a dramatic fountain of course!
After the conference officially ended, I had to go on one last garden tour. This one was in the exclusive east side neighborhood in Halladay, Utah, where we visited three luxurious estates in Salt Lake County. I was eager to see how the 1% gardened.
OMG! These gardens did not disappoint and were worth the price of admission to the conference. It was pretty incredible to see how magnificent a garden can be when money is no object.
This first estate garden ended up being a million dollars over budget.
Nope, not your everyday garden. The owner, a passionate gardener and an avid collector of Japanese Maples, transformed a two acre parcel over a twenty year period into a virtual oasis filled with multiple Koi ponds and gorgeous stone walkways.
I’m not kidding, there was literally something to capture your eye at every turn. He created a garden that is paradise on earth.
Look at these magnificent stone pathways. They were six to eight inches deep and eight to ten feet long. Incredible Mother Nature at her best.
This garden was extraordinary. I had a hard time wrapping my head around what it must cost to keep it pruned and manicured. I asked how many people it takes to keep the garden looking so beautiful. He laughed because he’s got all the help he needs. Darn!
I told him I was available for adoption and I love to prune.
At the second private garden, the first thing we saw was this lovely labyrinth, all made with sedems with a focus on a bronze and rope sculpture. I walked it from start to finish, contemplating how much joy it would bring to be able to create anything that your heart desired in your garden.
After walking the labyrinth, I looked up and I saw this one-of-a-kind hobbit house. The homeowner told me she bought it for her grandkids to play in and do sleep-overs. That certainly was a unique and fun feature of the garden.
Walking to the back of the property was a large veggie garden in galvanized tubs, which is a simple way to make gardening more comfortable. Next to the containers was this darling Hansel and Gretel playhouse. Those lucky grandkids!
At the final luxury estate we visited, they had a built-in, ground-level trampoline. I mean, why not? We kicked off our shoes to try it out and laughed a lot. What joy!
On the flight home, I thought about what I learned and bringing home with me from those four enriching, community-building and joy-filled days:
- It’s important to keep learning to keep your mind sharp.
- It’s fascinating to go to places you’ve never been to and be willing to explore with a sense of adventure and curiosity.
- It’s stimulating to be with interesting people, who are also avid learners and seekers, with whom you share common values.
- And last but not least, it’s a kick to be a #GardenVoyeur! You really must try it … you’re going to love it because there’s just nothing like experiencing other people’s creativity — especially when there’s so much love and passion at play.
I know winter is just around the corner and outdoor garden tours will be on hold till spring, but consider visiting an indoor conservatory during the cooler months. They can be just the perfect nature boost on a cold wintery day.
And when you see the announcements start to show up for the spring garden tours, call a friend and make a day of it!