The 2015 Riley County Extension Master Gardener's Manhattan Garden Tour (27th Annual) came and passed last Sunday, and I believe it was the best ever. Today, we learned that it was, in fact, the most attended ever. For a small band of gardeners and a small city in the middle of the country, Manhattan gardeners did themselves proud. ProfessorRoush could be slightly biased, however, because one of the gardens on the tour was that of a friend. Of likely greater consequence in my bias, however, is my "status" as the tour day roving photographer for the Master Gardeners.
With a relatively new Nikon camera, I captured over 600 pictures in the six tour gardens in 3 hours, not including over 250 additional photos of the gardens last Thursday on the "pretour." These, I have culled down to about 600 photos that were in reasonable focus, of decent composition, and pretty cool. For instance, I hope the painted pine cones above captured your attention as surely as they did mine. They were a table accent in one of the gardens and a fine accent at that. The fabulous deep red lilies against the white fence in another garden provided another bright spot of color. Make sure you click on the photos to see them a bit larger.
Due to various and sundry Federal regulations, the vast mass of which I'm completely unaware and likely violate to some degree or another on a daily basis, I can't show you any photographs of people on the tour or I'll violate HIPPA or FIRPA or one of the OTHER-PAs. I can, however, show you these two ingenious "pot people", Clay, and Terra. Near them; in timeout, the gardener had placed their daughter, Mary Jane. Get it? Timeout? Mary Jane? How's that for garden creativity? I sense these homeowners may have some history within the 70's as former hippies.
As a gardening voyeur, ProfessorRoush is mad about plant combinations, and several of the gardeners could teach lessons in style. One standout is the grouping around this angelic statue; blue spruce, Japanese Maple, variegated Fallopia japonica, and yellow-tipped arborvitae, an almost flowerless garden with lots of color, restful and serene. The same gardener had the spot of various hostas accented by a green globe seen at the left, below. A green paradise in a single photo!
Another combination I appreciated was the soft gray foliageand pink daisy combination from a second garden:
ProfessorRoush does not get excited over heuchera as a general rule. I've lost several varieties to sun-burn in my own shadeless garden, but I could not ignore the beauty of the dappled sunlight on this specimen heuchera. What a sight!
I'd love to show you the whole photo set, all 600+ of them. They might not appeal to your everyday crowd at a NASCAR race, but I suspect that many of you would enjoy seeing them. I'll leave you, however, drooling at the prospect of another few hundred fabulous photos and contemplating this simple photo of a statue that left me determined to locate a copy of my very own. This little reading child would look great in my reading-themed garden. And if I can't find a copy, well, do you think this gardener would notice its replacement by a cement pig with wings or a nice stone rabbit?