Corner Iris Picture

Garden Etiquette

Reproduced with permission by Jay Holcomb from the American Iris Society Region 3 website.

With bloom season fast approaching, I thought it appropriate to have some reminders on how to act while in someone's garden.

Private gardens are best seen by appointment. It is best to call ahead. Please phone in advance for directions and to set a mutually acceptable time for viewing the garden. Arrive promptly for your garden tour. Remember that Mother Nature does not always agree with our plans - or our anticipated bloom times! Remember that you are there to see the garden, so you may not be given a "house tour". While your host may offer you food and drink, you shouldn't expect it.

Wear sensible shoes, and expect to get them dirty. A hat or sunscreen should be brought along to protect you from the sun's rays. You are bound to see something you like, so bring a notepad and pen for future reference.

Please do not touch or pick the flowers! Some gardeners are iris hybridizers. They need the blooms for this purpose and you could upset their hybridizing efforts by touching tags or picking flowers that they need to make crosses. They may have already made a cross and are waiting for the seed pod to ripen. This is why it is very important not to "help" by doing any deadheading in the garden.

Don't move any plant markers. If you question the accuracy of one, share your concern with your host, rather than trying to guess where it should go.

Be careful with your umbrella, handbag, and camera. Also take care not to disturb any tags while walking through the garden. Most gardeners have a tendency to plant too close, so watch your feet! And always stay on the provided walking paths. The most common cause of broken stalks seems to be people trying to climb over a row as a shortcut.

P-l-e-a-s-e - NO uncontrollable pets or children! Many gardens have rare or valuable plants that could be damaged.

Do not ask for (or take!) plants or seeds.

Lastly, and most importantly... Please remember that you are a guest. These gardeners are extending themselves and their gardens for your benefit. They do this freely on a volunteer basis. Have Fun! Ask questions! But please...leave the garden as you found it! (Unless you want to do a bit of weeding... ;=)