EVERY GARDEN TELLS A STORY: The Kinderhook Garden Club Garden Tour
06-29-09 –1:30 p.m. - If ever you thought your yard was too small for a proper garden, take heart: most of the gardens on this year’s Kinderhook Garden Club Garden Tour were backyard-sized yet chock-full of greenery and summer color, well-designed and welcoming, with a least one knock-out concept each.
If ever you thought you couldn’t afford enough plants, didn’t know enough about what to plant where, don’t be silly: the Kinderhook gardens showed that varieties of your basic sturdy hosta make luxuriant borders and provide a healthy backdrop for more colorful plants. They also choke out weeds, which is why a lot of us garden in the first place. OK, deer love them, but this is your backyard, right? You could have a fence.
You could have some statuary, too. Some Kinderhook gardeners add wit to their plantings with cheerful cats and more, a sort of found feline art, crafted from metal and who knows what else. A birdbath can also draw the eye—and birds—to part of the garden, and the birds can splash in safety next to a cat with a tail made of wire.
Some of the gardens were larger and more elaborate, even featuring swimming pools—a dip was not part of the tour—and ornamental ponds built of stone with tiny waterfalls and big goldfish. But beings under water play their role in the food chain. A great blue heron had visited the koi pond on the tour just days before and eaten all the koi but one. The heron declined the goldfish menu in that otherwise peaceful pond, but now he knows where they live.
Easier then, and less heartbreaking, to cast an eye on the hosta of your friends and neighbors and ask if you might divide out some clumps later this summer, after it’s bloomed. Hosta does well almost anywhere, in my experience, and if it doesn’t, I move it somewhere else. Check second-hand stores for interesting castoffs that might double as statues. They needn’t be tall; a Cheshire cat grinning in the greenery works as well as the surprise of a Venus de Milo copy.