Blooming good time on tap for Bedford's garden tour
“I always say it's my peace time, it's my therapy time,” said Donna Guibord, whose Joppa Hill Road gardens will be open to ticket holders. “I love being outside and just enjoy creating with my hands, and that's part of gardening.”
Guibord said it was not until she moved to Bedford five years ago that was she able to plant her first perennial garden. Now she has several separate gardens and hundreds of square feet of plant life, and she considers her plants to be very happy.
The hostas are her prize plant.
“I just love them,” she said. “They're absolutely unique. It's the first thing you see when you look at the garden, they're so large.”
Guibord said with the amount of sun her garden takes in, her perennials grow to enormous proportions. “The hostas are probably 4 feet in diameter, if not 5, and 3 1/2 feet high.”
She also cultivates hybrid lilies, catamite, beards tongue, yarrow, echinacea, Shasta daisies, liatra, stone crop, salvia, various shrubs, potentillia, wine and roses weigela — and that's just in the larger garden.
In the lower garden, visitors will find knockout roses aplenty, and in the shade garden there are ferns, hostas, astilbes, white impatients and other varieties.
There is also a vegetable garden, and annuals are interspersed throughout for color.
“There's a lot of purples and yellows and pinks,” Guibord said. “And then different shrubberies have different colors, and it all works in very well.”
Guibord was concerned with the onslaught of rain in the spring.
“But things are really starting to take off and grow real nice now,” she said.
Her drip irrigation system is of key importance, especially given a recent heat wave.
“When we have this type of weather the water is very, very important,” she said. “I fertilize all the time, too, and I think that has a lot to do with it.”
She also aerates the soil regularly to provide plants with oxygen and to let fertilizer seep to the roots.
For Guibord and her fellow gardeners, texture is a key consideration.
“(My garden) has such different texture, and that's what makes it unique,” she said. “That means a lot to a gardener, the different textures that come.”
“You have very large-leaf plants, you have other plants that are more succulent, with thick leaves, then you have some of the shrubbery, then you have some plants that move very freely in the air.”
Asked what the secret is behind growing such large plants, Guibord said you have to speak nicely to them.
“Most gardeners do talk to their plants. It's part of the therapy of having a garden. I just tell them they're pretty,” she said.
Jeanene Procopis of the club said the self-guided tour begins at the Peter Woodbury School.
“People will go there an pick up their tour book, which is their ticket to the gardens, then they can proceed in any order they wish to,” Procopis said.
Club members will be present at each of the gardens, “to guide the visitors through the preferred way of walking through the garden,” Procopis said.
Gardeners have written descriptions of their planted areas, and visitors are instructed on which way to walk, to identify the flora.
A garden at Peter Woodbury School, which produces vegetables to a local food bank, will also be on display during the tour. Local artists will be working their crafts art at the various gardens, and the Bedford Craft Workers Guild will be selling special garden-related items during tour hours.
Follow the Blooms runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on July 7. Tickets can be purchased for $17 by July 1, by sending a check payable to the Bedford Women's Club c/o Jackie Lucas, 31 McQuade Brook Rd., Bedford, N.H., 03110.
They are also available at Bedford Fields and Depot Farm in Merrimack. On the day of the event, tickets will be available for $20 at the registration tent, starting at 10 a.m. at the Peter Woodbury School in Bedford.
For more information on Follow the Bloom, call Sue Fahey at 471-6384.
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