I'm longing to stroll through the garden on the cover of this year's Open Days Directory: The 2011 Guide to Visiting America's Gardens (The Garden Conservancy, $16.95). Rectangles of puffy lime green moss sprout between identically sized and shaped pavers to create a well-groomed patchwork effect. This hopscotch-inducing terrace is bordered by fountains of ornamental grasses, spears of yews and various burgundy-leafed plants. Unfortunately (for me) this gem of a garden is in Massachusetts, but there are plenty of good possibilities closer to home.
There's no better way to learn about garden design in your particular climate than by seeing it up close, personal, and in 3-D by visiting nearby gardens. And the Open Days Directory encourages you to do just that by offering an invitation to visit the region's best private gardens while helping to raise money to conserve treasured gardens.
Tuck the directory into your luggage whenever you travel so you can get your garden fix while on the road. But for us stay-at-homes, the Washington state chapter is satisfyingly fat - the first tour day is of the South Sound on May 22. Public gardens of note are included, too, which gives you a wider option of dates and times. Tours are self-guided and flexible so you can set your own pace, the hosts are warm and welcoming, and there's no better way to get an intimate peek inside a tempting garden gate than to participate in the Open Days Program. To buy your guide to the best gardens or learn more about the program, check out www.gardenconservancy.org