The Powell Sisters Garden

Erica and I are sisters by blood and friends by choice.  We work together daily and socialize weekly.  She’s my best friend. I’m the eldest by eight years.  Erica and I have different temperaments and different tastes.  Despite the fact that we work with plants day in and day out, we both really like to garden and spend time in our yards.  It is relaxing.  After a long day at work, there’s nothing better than coming home and sitting outside, enjoying a summer evening.

Erica and I have established a habit of touring each other’s gardens and bouncing ideas off one another.  We usually have a drink in hand, often wine, and we stroll around discussing what new things we’ve done, plans for future improvements and thoughts about what might work in a given location.  It’s funny when we spot something in the other’s garden that we haven’t seen.  “When did we get that in?” I’ll ask.  Or Erica will wonder, “What is that?”  Maybe I’ll see something in her yard that I didn’t think about planting but it looks so gorgeous I have to try it.  Our tastes in home decorating are definitely different and our gardens started out quite different as well.  She comments that my yard is overplanted and I’ve called her the leveler, since she tends to cut down a lot of trees.  However, our gardens have more similarities than one would think.  We both like fragrant plants, especially plants that are fragrant at night.  We both like Jasmine and flowering tobacco, although I favor Nicotiana sylvestris while she likes Nicotiana alata.  She loves Echinacea and finally got me to plant several in my yard.  I groove on old-fashioned flowers such as stock, sweet violets and Dianthus, while Erica is usually all about the new varieties.  I’d say that there are far more plants we have in common than not.

When I agreed to open my own garden to the public for the Linn County Master Gardener’s 12th annual “Through the Garden Gate” tour, I didn’t stop to think about the ramifications.  By this time in my life I should know myself well enough to know how the whole plot would unfold.  I started by deciding that this was the opportunity to do all the reworking of the yard that I have been wanting to do.  We started in February and haven’t stopped since.  I’ve driven my husband to the verge of a mental and physical breakdown!  I’m sure that the plantings aren’t full enough, so with 1 week to go I am still adding plants.  Mitch is ready to shoot me.  He had hoped to have everything spotless and be done a week in advance.  We’ve actually replanted a small bed 3 times.  We still have 1 plant to relocate.  Mitch finds little consolation in the fact it is going back to the spot where he originally positioned it.  As you can tell, I am a perfectionist.  Even though he says he loves that about me, I know it drives Mitch crazy.  Also, he has put in a lot more work than I have, as I have been working 6 days a week for the last 2 months.  Mitch has also had to endure my difference in opinion and my family’s opinions on what we should do (I asked for their professional advice, which I then decided to embrace or not).  So I owe him big time.  After this is over, he’s informed me he is taking a week off from any work at home.  I see a lot of plant maintenance and dishwashing in my future.  I will have to say that our garden looks smashing.  It is peaking at the right time and anything that isn’t peaking is getting replaced or supplemented.  My hope and prayer is that I can keep everything watered enough and keep the snails away from the yummy garden candy for the next 7 days!  The tour is on Saturday, June 18th from 10 am to 4 pm and features 6 gardens.  Tickets are $10, with proceeds benefiting the Linn County Master Gardeners.  Tickets are available at Garland Nursery.

This year Garland Nursery is launching a Garland Garden Club rewards program.  Erica and I decided to have the first Garden Club event in June.  There is a strawberry moon this month, so “Moonlight in the Garden” seemed like an appropriate theme.  Erica appeared on a national garden show that featured a moon garden she planted in her back yard.  Although the original moon garden is gone, Erica has incorporated a lot of the moon garden plant varieties throughout her yard.  She decided as part of the Garden club event, that she would open her home garden to our garden club members.  Quite frankly, I’m not sure where Erica found the time to get her yard looking as great as it does.  She works just as much as I do and she has done more travelling than I have recently.  Of course the fact that she is eight years younger gives her more energy.  She’s also a faster worker than I am.  Her garden looks fabulous.  If you want to become a Garland Garden Club member, show up on Thursday, June 16th at 6 pm.  You can sign-up then.  There is no charge to be a member.  You’ll get our weekly e-mail, semi-annual magazine, reward gift cards, and special sales and events.  Plus, you’ll get to tour Erica’s gorgeous garden!

I obviously didn’t equate the fact that both events were in the same week when we planned all this in advance.  Would I have done it differently?  Stress is stress.  Is it more stressful to do everything within days of one another or stretch it out over a longer period?  Do you like to pull the band-aid off quick and get the horrific pain over with or take it off slowly and make the less horrific pain last longer?  It’s been fun getting ready for the tours, don’t get me wrong.  My yard looks better than it ever has.  I’m really excited because I really do finally have the garden of my dreams.  But this I know for sure, I may be washing a lot of dishes and watering a lot of plants, but on Sunday June 19th, I’ll be breathing a sigh of relief.

About Brenda Powell

I'm one of the owners of a family-owned retail nursery. I have a degree in horticulture from Oregon State University. I love to garden and read. My technically savvy but horticulturally challenged husband, Mitch, spends most of his time as slave labor in the garden. Thank goodness he adores me! My goal in this blog is to share my enjoyment of gardening, my love of nature, and my addiction to books. Did I mention I like to cook, too?
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