Very few of us could ever aspire to anything like the lush and elaborate gardens of L.A.'s Getty Center and London's Hyde Park. I loved visiting both, but as beautiful as they may be, they are, like most public gardens, of limited utility to a galloping horse gardener like me. All I ever seem to learn from public gardens is that mine would look a lot better if I had a grounds crew.
The same goes for those picture-perfect private gardens featured in newspapers and magazines. Fine Gardening and Horticulture are fun to read, but they need to go easy on the stories about how some homeowner transformed a miserable, barren swath of land into a showplace. Inevitably, the enterprising homeowner turns out to be a Wall Street baron or a celebrity designer with a historic home on five acres. What on earth am I supposed to take away from this, except that having $100,000 to spend on landscape design would do wonders for my yard?
The truth is, the experiences of real-life gardeners are far more relevant. They help you see what is possible back here on the planet Earth, where gardeners have jobs, small children, and needy dogs, not to mention poor soil, money issues, and bad knees.
In that spirit, this month I am introducing Guest Gardens, which highlights the real-life gardens of Galloping Horse Garden readers. The debut feature is a look at my mother's garden in White Plains, New York - the standard by which I judge my own garden (and find it wanting). In her garden, I discovered my favorite flowers. In mine, I killed them. It seems that Cary is a bit hotter than White Plains.
Please share your pictures, and your tales of triumph or tragedy. Both would be instructive, I'm sure.