Humble beginnings

“We have a list of gardens for the tour,” explained committee chair Barbara McClinton, “but we just need one more.”

I was sitting in a business meeting at Adkins Arboretum, and we were discussing plans for a Caroline County garden tour taking place in 15 months. I live in Caroline County, and I was trying to think of someone who had a nice garden.

I had never been on a garden tour, but it sounded interesting. Until I started working at the Arboretum, I thought all plants were native and that “invasive species” were aliens in science fiction films.

I certainly wouldn’t call myself a gardener, nor would my husband. It comes naturally to him to get out there and start digging and planting as soon as the ground softens in early spring. I like to do the weeding and provide the iced tea.

“What about you, Meg?” Barbara asked. “Would you consider having your garden be part of the tour?”

“My garden? I don’t really have a garden.” I said.

“Well, you’ll have one now!” Barbara said, laughing.

And so began our adventure in native plant gardening. With Barbara McClinton’s generous attention to every detail, we walked, talked, planned, measured, sketched, scratched, and finally planted more than 150 native plants in five beds on our Hillsboro half acre.

A humble beginning...

A humble beginning…

We love this garden of ours and have so much hope for each little plant. The Amsonia hubrichtii is showing its blue tips, the raspberry heuchera shoots have emerged, and we can’t wait to see the pinxter azalea bloom. Oh…and the forest pansy redbud is stunning!

Gallagher 1 Gallagher 2 Gallagher 3

I cannot believe that I am speaking this language, and Pat, the real gardener in the family, can’t believe it, either. What a difference a year makes!

The tour is this Saturday, and we expect about 150 “tourists” to visit our “Beginner’s Native Garden.” We’re excited—like proud parents! I hope you can join us.

by Meg Gallagher
Advancement Assistant


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