Baltimore Horticultural Society Tour June 2019

I’ve become a fan of the Maryland Horticultural Society, which attracts big-name speakers and puts on the very best garden tour in the Mid-Atlantic, if you ask me. So I hightailed it up there recently to see some gardens, all winners and very close to each other, both in outer Baltimore and in the adjacent suburb of Towson.

The tour organizer, by the way, is the very person who rescued me when I was stranded at the Philadelphia Flower Show last year. She’s become a friend.

Here are the highlights of the tour, for this tour-goer at least, and don’t miss the surprise encounter at the last garden.

Above, the first garden caught my attention for the owner’s name – Roland Oehme, son of Wolfgang Oehme, co-founder of Oehme Van Sweden Landscape Architects, and a landscape architect himself. Coincidentally, part of the rear garden had been designed for clients by Wolfgang in the early 1980’s.

The garden was too small and jam-packed with plants and people to give my poor photography skills a chance.
Baltimore Horticultural Society Tour June 2019

Next, I loved the hardscape in this garden – great flagstone walkway to the front door, the pergola, and that lovely stone face on the exterior.

Baltimore Horticultural Society Tour June 2019

In the back yard, more good design in plants and structures. Although I love the look of that porch, I’d sure want to screen it in.Baltimore Horticultural Society Tour June 2019

Speaking of screened-in porches, the next garden had the perfect one right in front.

Baltimore Horticultural Society Tour June 2019

In the back, this panorama shot only hints at the large expanse of lawn surrounded by border.

Baltimore Horticultural Society Tour June 2019

Facing the back of the house, this shot includes the gardener Bill Martin (seated, with a hat and pink shirt) answering every visitor’s question. The brochure tells us the garden was influenced by the Pavilions at the University of Virginia, Gertrude Jekyll, Giverny, and “a personal meeting with David Culp and periodically re-reading his important book, The Layered Garden.

Baltimore Horticultural Society Tour June 2019

Here’s another charming house made even prettier by avid gardeners. Anyone know what architectural style this is?

Baltimore Horticultural Society Tour June 2019

Another home I can imagine happily living in and gardening around.

Baltimore Horticultural Society Tour June 2019

Great carriage house, too.

Finally, the last garden and the surprise encounter I promised.Baltimore Horticultural Society Tour June 2019

First I photographed gardener Diana Jacquot’s water features and then found her chatting with visitors in the backyard of her home in Homeland Village, a gem of a neighborhood I’d never heard of before.

Diana Vacquot's garden, Baltimore Horticultural Society Tour June 2019

She asked my friend and me where we were from and when we answered Greenbelt, Maryland she exclaimed something to the effect of “That’s where my favorite gardenblogger lives!” (Honestly, she might have said “Oh, I read a garden blog by someone there,” and I’ve mentally embellished the compliment.)

Whatever – it was exciting to make a connection with a reader, after blogging for 14 or so years, during which it sometimes feels like I’m blogging into the wind.

She followed up with an email to say, “It was exciting for me to have you tour my garden as I have been a big fan of your blog and Garden Rant since way back when the blog began. I have always appreciated the quality and the diversity of garden writers and subjects and unlike many blogs, it has only gotten better with time.” She didn’t remember exactly what she said when we met but wrote that “I’m happy with whatever way you want to describe our meeting, as you are one of my favorite bloggers and I had so many conversations with all the visitors that day, the specifics elude me.”

Diana, thanks from all of us at the Rant for those encouraging words!

More emails led to us inviting Diana and the Hort Society’s tour volunteers (more Rant readers!) to visit our  interesting town for a tour packed with New Deal history, our own gardens, and to make a day of it, the public gardens near us – Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and the National Arboretum. So that’ll be fun!

But back to Diana and her fabulous garden, I found this in

Gardening: “It is the center of my life,” says this accomplished gardener who has never taken a gardening course. She gardens before work and again after work until sunset. “It is my passion … Other people call it an obsession!”

“It is an antidote to sadness and a full contact sport.  I do Pilates. I am passionate about skiing. I hike. But nothing takes more out of my body than gardening,” she says. “At the same time, it tunes you into a place in yourself. It’s a retreat, a sanctuary, a silent place with the processes of nature and wonder around you. It is very personal, yet it involves a lot of friendship, too. I love the people I’ve met through gardening.”

Diana is a hands-on gardener, planting, weeding, pruning, editing as she goes along throughout the growing season. “The challenges are the motivating force behind my love for gardening. I hope that people, when they visit, walk away with the impression that if they come back at another time, a garden full of surprises and delight will await them.”

I’ll give the final word to something Diana said about her garden for the Hort Society Tour brochure:

“It’s not that big, but it’s an excessive garden,” says Jacquot. “I’ve always said I’ve never met a plant I didn’t like.”

I think I’ve met the quintessential GardenRant reader.