Today, Paula and I visited a wonderful private garden in Highlands, NC. I thought I might share a few of my thoughts on successful garden visitation. Our friends brought up in polite society are already familiar with these guidelines, but my “people” came out of the oilfields of Louisiana, and these little garden visit etiquette rules are helpful.
Gardeners are by nature nurturing and sharing, and delight in showing you around the garden. However, a phone call for scheduling (at the GARDENER’S convenience) is always best. Get good directions and arrive on time.
Don’t come empty handed. Everybody can always use a bottle of wine.
If the gardener takes you around, ask questions about the garden. Be engaged and interested. Avoid the temptation to talk about YOUR garden. Instead compliment and appreciate. NEVER criticize.
Ask if you may take pictures, but if you do photograph, stay on the paths.
Don’t overstay your welcome. Let the gardener initiate extending your visit beyond the garden tour. Be sensitive to conversational hints about obligations.
Don’t ask for plants. Wait for an offer.
Immediately follow up your visit with a proper handwritten note, on paper, in the mail. Gardeners are, for the most part, old fashioned.