Sharing some highlights from “Gardenscapes”
Once every two years, the Kingwood Garden Club throws open the gates of several private gardens, inviting flower lovers, plant lovers, nature lovers, and other like-minded folks on self-guided tours. “Gardenscapes,” as the event is known, takes place in Kingwood, a verdant, lake-rich community some 30 miles northeast of downtown Houston.
It is one of my favorite events!
When you attend the tour, like I did a few weeks ago, you know to expect meticulously manicured gardens of various styles, lush and sometimes exotic plant collections, and a multitude of outdoor kitchens, koi ponds, fire pits, gazebos, fountains, and garden sheds, although the term “shed” doesn’t do justice to some of the enviable potting sheds and she-sheds tucked away in shady backyards.
You also know that you’ll be amused, inspired, and even charmed by the floral creations designed by club members for each specific garden. This year’s designs included a large floral display showcased in a yellow kayak afloat in a swimming pool, a three-tiered cake made mostly from blue, orange and yellow pressed, dried pansies and florist moss, and my favorite, a small, sunglasses-wearing garden fairy fashioned from assorted flowers and foliage. The petite figure was half hidden in a front bed, making her all the more enchanting! Traditional floral arrangements adorned patio tables and garden benches.
Some of the gardens were decorated to illustrate themes. At the “Queen Bee” garden nearly everything was festooned in black and white checkerboard fabric. Garden club members were quick to point out that almost all the lavish “confections” on display in the outdoor kitchen were made from coffee filters.
Another garden—a grandmother’s garden—was filled with examples of constructive and creative ways to keep grandkids busy. Here, beside an easel and paints, colorful kid drawings hung from a cord strung between a tree and a shepherd’s rod. Scientific “experiments” filled a table. There were plant cuttings in the process of rooting, carnation flowers in the process of changing color as they absorbed tinted water, and other fun kid stuff. For younger tykes there was “Dino Dig,” a small sandpit equipped with digging tools where kids could dig for plastic dinosaur bones buried in the sand. Plant lovers could examine a potted herb garden; rose lovers could enjoy the color and scent of an antique rose, so large it covered a trellis and rambled along a fence. And if your mission was to find mood-building ideas to set a Victorian theme, you could peak inside a she-shed awash with pink rugs, pink pillows, pink pots, and pink flowers.
A few miles away in a restful lakeside setting, tour-goers strolled the extensive decks of two neighboring homes. Here, lush gardens with large trees and seasonal color helped make the transitions from decks to lawns to waterfront. At one home, a fern-and-rock-lined stream ran alongside the deck. At the other home, planters filled with flowers hung from the deck railing.
Fanciful pot people, engineered from terracotta pots, welcomed tour-goers at another garden. Their whimsical appearance belied the elegance of the “garden house” just around the corner. Perfect for reading, painting, potting, or designing floral arrangements, the “gardener’s hideaway” featured skylights in a vaulted ceiling and cabinets with a sink. Stained glass hung in a window; a living wreath featuring impatiens and polka dot plants, among other plants, hung on the door.
Like most garden tours, proceeds from Gardenscapes and the accompanying plant sale are used to help fund educational, horticulture, and beautification projects. The Kingwood Garden Club (est. 1973) can be reached at www.kingwoodgardenclub.org.