Monroe County Historical Society Garden Tour and Tea

hosta-bed-by-tree-300The 2010 Monroe County Historical Society Summer Garden Tour and Tea was held at the Don & Judi Ruedy farm to raise funds for the Deke Slayton Memorial Museum. View photos from the garden tour.

Last week on Monday evening, July 26th, 2010 we had about 175 people in our yard! And, they were all happy to be there!

My husband, Don and I were hosts to a Garden Tour and Tea sponsored by the Deke Slayton Memorial Museum in Sparta, WI. This is the 9th year they have hosted this fund raiser with the donations going to the upkeep of the museum.

The actual Tea was held 1 mile away from our farm at the Former Big Creek Church which is also part of the Monroe County Historical Society. The Tea was an assortment of bars and desserts and beverages and was held in the historic 1874 horse barn on the grounds there.

The day originally chosen to host this was July 22, the Thursday before and we woke up to lots of rain that day that was supposed to continue all day and evening forecasts were thunderstorms with some being severe. We received almost 2″ here.

So, at 7 am on that day we were burning up the phone lines deciding what to do, and decided to postpone the tour until the following Monday, July 26th. We got lucky and it was about 85 degrees on Monday and a breeze and sun and it was very good for a Garden Tour.

Getting ready for a Garden Tour is quite an experience to say the least. I had said a definite yes to the tour many months ago in January when there was snow on the ground.

I had vowed to myself not to do much more than I usually do each year getting ready for it. I didn’t do real well in that department, but kept the purchases under control. I had purchased some new Hostas later last summer so I thought they would be a nice addition.

I got started early this year moving plants around to make the placement of many of the Hostas look nicer. I moved and dug and dug and moved. I got 85% of what I planned to do finished. But, Mother Nature didn’t cooperate real well with a couple of big Hostas I moved.

I had 3 in the area of the Gazebo that were all about 8 years old and all had grown together as they got larger and so I moved the smaller one to another spot. It was Yellow River and is a stunning Hosta every year.

It should have been just fine, but on May 9th we had a killing frost here and it got bit. It didn’t get hit real bad, but the fact that it had been moved only a couple of weeks prior just made it susceptible to anything like frost. It never has come out of it well all season.

Then before the end of the month of May we had two 93 degree days! More stress on the Hostas I moved. (Most Hostas take a hit for a year anyway when you move them or divide them but this was just too much for this plant.)

I had also divided some larger Halcyon Hosta and they were in the same general area and got bit too by the same frost and sunburn.

So, some weren’t as large and pretty as I would have liked them to be. I trimmed almost all of the poor looking leaves off when I deadheaded. The other old standbys that had been in place 7 or 8 years shown in all their elegance.

I did get some larger clumps moved from other areas too and new plants started from the many different kinds of Sedums I have. We survived the summer and didn’t have any major wind storms hit here and no hail here, so the beds looked pretty good for the Tour.

Everyone thought the flowers were real nice and were surprised when I told them how there really isn’t too many weeds in an established bed.

Seems that no one believes me on that point. I also had to repeat that no, I don’t do gardening all day. I try to go through each bed every couple of weeks. Not on a regular basis, but if I see weeds, I pull them out.

I have tried to plant things that are low care or little care for the most part and except for this year, don’t plant too many small pots that have to be watered all the time.

All the plants this year in this area of West Central Wisconsin are about 3 weeks early in blooming because of the early spring we had. There was a nice March and April and no real high and low temperatures (except for May 9th) and so everything came out early and bloomed early.

So, the date that was planned for the tour 6 months ago, and according to my watching when things bloomed the past 2 years, was off and many of the daylilies and hardy lilies that should have been blooming at that time were on their way out.

I had even held some Hardy Lily Bulbs back and kept cool and planted them at 1week intervals in May and June and they pretty well all bloomed at the same time! Most before the tour too.

We sure couldn’t have pulled it off without the help of many friends that helped and worked the plant sale we had here. One even canceled another appointment to help me out!

Plants were donated by the volunteers that keep the Former Big Creek Church going. These volunteers also helped with the plant Sale here. Plants were also donated by Bangor Garden Club Members.

Proceeds from the plant sale go to help fund expenses at the Former Big Creek Church. Other friends helped out here giving tours and talking to people with questions on the plantings.

I also have a sister that traveled 4 hours,and helped me out for a couple of days before the Tour and two God children that were super in preparation and clean up too!

I also had a friend and Garden Club Member that offered to help me deadhead and the first day we both spent 3 hours doing just that!

Then she said, if you want me to help again the day before the tour, let me know! Wow, that was a god send! So, she came again. It didn’t take so long that time around.

I didn’t ask her a third time to come when it got postponed figuring I would want to keep this friendship! So, I did it one more time myself on Sunday before the event. Oh, and of course, had to mow the lawn another time around too on Sunday. My husband had gotten into the act too a couple of weeks prior, with the mowing of areas that we usually park machinery on. We needed that area for parking cars and it worked out real well.

We also had Garden Club Members donate floral arrangements for the tables at the tea and also cookies for the tea.

Many people came together to make this a success and gave their time and we, (my husband and me) know there is much less time in the day now that there was 20 years ago, and are very grateful to them all!

The one that had the most fun though, was our dog Butters. He was born to play Bouncy Ball and that is what he did all night, in between greeting people as they arrived. I had been worried how he would take to so many different people, but he was a trooper!

There were children here that delighted throwing the ball for him so he could get it. They had as much fun as he did! We had about 175 people that attended the Tour plus today 10 members from the Hill and Dale Garden Club from Elroy, WI, that came a couple of days after the tour.

Now, living on a dairy farm for all these years the absolute worst thing you can hear is “The Cows are OUT!!” We do the best we can to keep the fences good, but there is always the time when they do get out and Thank Heaven it didn’t happen before the Garden Tour. But, the Saturday morning after some did just that. They broke down a section of a board fence and were having a good time they thought. We didn’t see it that way. Somehow they pretty well stayed off the main lawn, and damage wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but I am leaving out a lot of details here! We are just thankful it didn’t happen before the event!

It was a very successful and fun time. We wish it would have lasted longer!

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