Yes, this is the time of year when Extension Master Gardener's are busily planning out next year's Garden Tour in your local town. Take it from me that this is no reason to rush out and spread trash around the vegetable garden nor to maim the Weigela in hopes that your garden is overlooked for consideration. In truth your garden was likely scouted out during the previous summer in anticipation of the coming year by some cunning Master Gardener and your name was placed on a list of possibles and a secret file generated about your garden. Remember when you found the dew marred by footprints moving through the garden one early summer morning, but yet nothing seemed to be amiss save the roses that were mysteriously deadheaded? Remember that dark summer night when you could have sworn you saw lights floating about your daylilies for a few seconds, and the thyme walkway looked trampled, but all you found was that the tomatoes had been staked up a bit higher? Those weren't the actions of a new SWAT team at Homeland Security, they were the next most dangerous group, a stealthy bunch of Master Gardener's with a mission and a complete inborn inability to leave the plants alone.
When the fiends finally reveal themselves with a request to display your lovely garden on the tour, take a deep breath and just say yes. Despite what you've read about the horrors of hundreds of people closely scrutinizing your azaleas and trampling the clematis, the gardening public that will visit your garden on G-Day (shorthand for the actual tour date) will never notice the henbit springing up among the roses because their eyes will be only on either the smallest details of that double peach-colored miniature rose or on the larger picture of your garden composition. Mirabel Osler, in A Breath from Elsewhere, describes these visitors to her garden as either Crouchers or Gapers, respectively. The Croucher’s move bent over at the waist, meticulously naming, admiring, and coveting individual plants, while the Gapers saunter around a garden in a state of enlightened bliss but miss the details of the latest daylily cultivar you just spent $100 for. Despite what you've heard, the public won't mutter that your lilacs are ruined with mildew, or comment on the unholy color of the white marigolds (at least within your hearing range). I've been a
It won't be any more work than normal, either, to get ready for the Tour. You won't do anything crazy like shoveling off three feet of snow over the garden in January so you can begin Spring cleanup early, and of course you won't begin to build the Taj Mahal of gazebos or put in that 3 acre water feature just to impress visitors. And those rumors about evening up the grass ends with hand-trimmers at midnight the night before G-day are just myths circulated by scaremongers. Trust me, you'll barely feel the urge to spread a little extra mulch this year.
So, for the benefit of Master Gardener's everywhere, just say "Yes." Please.