Anticipating Austin’s Open Days garden tour


Not counting the Garden Bloggers Spring Fling 2008, the best local garden tour I’ve ever been on is Austin’s Open Days Garden Conservancy tour. Two years ago I visited every garden on the tour and ended up making a post about each one; click here for my introductory Open Days post.

This year Open Days Austin occurs on October 4th, which just so happens to be my birthday. It also just so happens to be the day after we move into our new house. Is that going to stop me from going on the tour? Indeed not! I’ve already given notice to my understanding husband that he and the kids will be unpacking on their own that morning through early afternoon while I treat myself to a day of amazing Austin gardens. It’s a birthday present I’m giving myself.

Roxane Smith, our Open Days regional rep, and I have traded a few emails about the tour. I’d mentioned to her how happy I am that Open Days is returning to Austin after last year’s hiatus, and that it falls on my birthday this year.


Well, imagine my surprise and delight yesterday when I opened an envelope in my mailbox and found a pass for all seven gardens, compliments of Roxane. She also included a very kind note wishing me a happy birthday. Thank you, Roxane! I can’t wait to see the gardens this year, especially since six of them have never been on the tour.

For local readers, here’s the scoop. Open Days Austin will be held on Saturday, October 4, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $5 per garden and can be purchased at each garden. The Open Days Directory contains the most detailed information and can be purchased online (it includes one free ticket), or you can visit the Open Days website.

If you want to see how the other half lives, I suggest (based on the online descriptions) the Granger Garden and the G. Hughes and Betsy Abell Garden, both in Tarrytown, as well as the Ofman Garden in southwest Austin out by the One World Theater. Don’t miss James David and Gary Peese’s garden, which is the sole repeat on this tour; the Spring Flingers enjoyed a personal tour and the hosts’ hospitality last April.

I’m particularly interested in seeing the smaller gardens on the tour: one in east Austin (featured not long ago on “Central Texas Gardener”) and another in Clarksville near downtown.

For a preview of the gardens, tune in to “Central Texas Gardener” at noon on Saturday (or check KLRU’s schedule for your area), and visit producer Linda Lehmusvirta’s CTG blog.

And if that’s not enough for you, Open Days San Antonio is scheduled for October 18.

All material © 2006-2008 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

20 Responses

  1. Jenny says:

    David and I plan to visiting all those gardens including the David Peese garden which I must have visited 10 times over the course of the years. I never tire of the wonderful spaces. Thanks for the link to u tube to one of the featured gardens. I see a few more there that I will have to check out when I have a moment. Hope to wish you a happy birthday on the day.

    I hope to see you along the way too, Jenny. Have fun on the tour! —Pam

  2. Robin says:

    I love it when you do garden tours! It’s the next best thing to being there.

    Thank you, Robin. I’m so glad you enjoy them. —Pam

  3. Gail says:

    Sigh, It sounds wonderful! Gail

  4. Diana Kirby says:

    I was just looking at the blurb from the paper that’s on my fridge and thinking, we need to get some folks together to go do that! I can’t wait.

    Fall is the season for Austin gardeners to start doing things again, including tours. I can’t wait either. —Pam

  5. vanillalotus says:

    I’m excited to see the san antonio gardens. The Horticulture club at my school might have a carpooling get together on that day. At least I hope we do but I don’t think much of anyone will go besides me and another lady. I wish I could go to the Austin one also but I work on Saturdays now and have to that October 18th off just to see the SA gardens.

    And I wish I could see the San Antonio tour, but they’re pretty close together, and I won’t have time for both. I hope that you’ll take lots of pictures to show us what’s going on in our neighbor city to the south. —Pam

  6. Frances says:

    Your tours are the best. I can’t wait and be sure and include a tour of your new house and garden, or just the garden, to show us the *before* picture. You are a hard core gardening nut to not miss this just because it is moving day! And your birthday. You are one focused individual.

    I’ve had this tour date circled on my calendar for a while, Frances, and I wasn’t about to let a little thing like a move derail my plans. I will definitely show you “before” pics of the new house just as soon as we’re over there. —Pam

  7. Take lots of pictures Pam! I love traveling along with you on these tours.
    And, Happy Birthday! Mine is the 6th! I will be in DC visiting a very special daughter that weekend.

    Happy birthday to you too, Linda! Have fun in DC with your daughter. —Pam

  8. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Good luck with your move Pam. I can’t wait to see your impressions of the garden tour.

    Thanks, Lisa. —Pam

  9. Phillip says:

    That sounds like fun. I love touring other people’s gardens. You don’t hear of garden tours around here in the fall, only the spring. I guess people around here are mostly interested in football. :(

    Texans are obsessed with football too, Phillip, but at least that doesn’t stop the fall Open Days tour. I would think fall in Alabama would be a lovely time for a garden tour. Too bad you don’t seem to have any. —Pam

  10. Barbara says:

    Gosh, your move is coming up quickly! Hope everything is under control and your hair is still intact. Early happy birthday wishes to you, Pam. Have a wonderful time touring the gardens. I was able to see the David / Peese garden on Gardener’s Diary Thursday morning. It looked wonderful.

    I still have my hair for now, Barbara. Thanks for the warm wishes. I’m glad you got to see the David/Peese garden. It’s amazing. —Pam

  11. Now why do we not have these kinds of Garden Conservancy tours in Indianapolis? Or maybe we do, and I just don’t know about them? Anyway, sounds like a wonderful way to spend your birthday. Have a good one and “don’t forget to take your camera”. ;-)

    I don’t know why Indiana doesn’t have Open Days, Carol. I just looked up the states that offer them, and the closest one to you is Illinois. Road trip? —Pam

  12. Katina says:

    Man, I take 2 vacations out of state this year and it just so happens that two garden things are going on during BOTH of those vacations.

    Happy early Birthday Pam!

    Oh, more gardening events are coming up, Katina. Never fear! —Pam

  13. Wow. What a wonderful birthday present. I’m looking forward to going this time. I missed it two years ago and didn’t know anything about it until I read your blog posts after the fact. This year I’m making sure I have the day free. I’ll be glad to see the David-Peese garden in the fall as they seemed to think it was its better season. (And it looked pretty darn good in the spring.)

    I’m glad you’ll be able to do the tour this time, MSS. —Pam

  14. That will be a cool birthday for you, Pam! Thanks for all the links – sounds like a really good one.
    I hope the other parts of your birthday present are that your house is sold quickly and that the move goes smoothly…. so you can concentrate on the garden tour without distraction ;-]

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    Thanks for the good wishes, Annie! —Pam

  15. irena says:

    what a great surprise and a wonderful way to spend your birthday. I love garden tours. best of luck with your move. can’t wait to see what you do at your new place.
    irena

    Thanks, Irena. I think it’s a great way to spend a birthday too. —Pam

  16. Brenda Kula says:

    How wonderful for you! Happy Birthday come October!
    Brenda

    Many thanks, Brenda! —Pam

  17. Vertie says:

    I think the tour is a perfect way to spend your birthday. It’s how I spent mine two years ago. I am volunteering at one of the gardens in the morning, but I don’t know which one yet. Maybe I’ll run into you and get a chance to wish you a happy birthday in person. (You share a birthday with one of my dearest friends so now I’ll never forgot yours!)

    I hope to see you that morning, Vertie. Have fun on your volunteer duty. Say, do volunteers get a preview of the gardens before the big day? —Pam

  18. Lori says:

    Thanks for posting about this. I was doing fruitless web searches trying to find the Open Days website so I could send it to a few people. I’m definitely going to be dragging my friends to the David/Peese garden. Maybe I’ll see you there. :)

    I hope to see you along the way, Lori. Won’t it be fun to show your friends the David-Peese garden? Do you think their corpse flower is still there? —Pam

  19. Jean says:

    Ooh, I wish I had heard about this earlier. I would have scheduled a trip down to Austin, just for a chance to see all those gardens. I’ve seen the David/Peese gardens a couple of times and it always changes in surprising ways. Lovely. I’ll be patient and wait for your armchair tour. :-)

    Best of luck with your move!

    Thanks, Jean. I’ll be delighted to give you an armchair tour. Maybe you can make it next year. I wish I had time for the San Antonio tour too, but no dice. Next time! —Pam

  20. Dear Pam,
    I love your website. I first became familiar with your lovely photographs and garden blog through Lucinda Hutson. I am going to attend the garden tour this Saturday. Hope to see all the gardens!

    Maybe after you get settled into your new home we could meet for coffee. Wishing you a wonderful Birthday….sounds like its going to be a great one!

    All the best,
    Sincerely,
    Victoria Smith

    Hi, Victoria. It was a pleasure to run into you on the garden tour. Thanks for saying hi. Your photos are amazing, and I look forward to seeing more of them. —Pam