Mr. Foo’s Garden Tour

I am reposting this review of the 2008 Garden Tour post because it simply makes me laugh out loud remembering how hilarious this Garden Tour and its guide from Brookline, Mass was.  In 2020, with the pandemic terrorizing all social contact, the concept of meeting up with a group of people for a walking tour of anything would be the story.  Plus, I’m reposting in August 2020 and my garden is filled with delights all on its own.  I’ve added a video at end of post!

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The house appeared haunted, the path was overgrown to the point of invisibility, and the container boxes weren’t planted and its June in New England.

Welcome to the garden tour in an upscale neighborhood outside of Boston. A tour, six participants paid to go on. This tour included gardens with desperately few living flowers. Yellowed tulip leaves, spent blooms, rocked this tour.

The guide, whose house we met at, said he was a former modern dancer who couldn’t take the stress of managing a company of dancers. I think it was just plain company he might not have been able to handle.

He appeared to have just rolled out of bed or rolled in something and it was mid-afternoon. He announced right off the bat that he didn’t believe in symmetry at all in any aspect of gardening or life.

Dude, we figured that one out on our own just by having to jump over shrubs to get to the porch.

Although one woman seemed shocked, “You don’t? Really?” She said the same thing at the end of the tour when he said he didn’t believe in fertilizer either. People who start sentences with “I don’t believe in….” lose me almost immediately, but he actually lost me, early on, not over his disbelief in symmetry but his “belief” in container gardening. To one woman’s question about container gardening, he said, “Oh, I love container gardening. It’s one of my favorite things to do!”

Pssst. Pssst! Um. People. Look to your left. Three containers. No flowers. Nothing. Oh, I get it now. It’s sort of like “I am a size 8!” And, all the while, the tag in my trousers says 16.

Since he arrived a half hour late and ended the tour an hour and 10 minutes early, I’d say we didn’t get our money’s worth but that would be just plain wrong of me. I laughed the whole “tour”. If I’d paid money to see Bill Maher at the Comedy Connection, laughter would have been expected. On a garden tour? People, whenever I laugh for one hour and 20 minutes straight, it’s a good day and worth the price of admission, even if the ticket was only to the Dry Cleaners.

He talked about his philosophy of gardening. “Let it Be” by the Beatles comes to mind. When one woman asked him, (Ok, it was me) what was the name of the plant that was preventing emergency personnel from having access to his house, he responded, “O Foo, I can’t remember names of things!”

Alrightee, then, Mr. Foo. No flowers. No symmetry. No names. That about sums up the garden tour. This is a blog about expectations turned upside down.

But, I also got a lovely picture of this hosta plant, its name I thankfully already knew, and I met a few lively folks, all of whom believed in symmetry and the joys of gardening.

PS. I use the term “tour” loosely: we walked around his neighborhood to homes he had once been paid to design, (at least that what he says) and watched as he pointed to one lackluster plot of ground, saying proudly, “Now, they haven’t had to weed for years!”

I suspect his clients were disabled or at least incapable of bending from the waist. Although I definitely believe they haven’t weeded in ten years, it was not from want of weeds.

So, as he ended the tour, (did I say he ended it one hour and 10 minutes early?) he said “Well, sorry, gotta go and buy some plants.”

I think he goes to Home Depot since as my friend says, you can buy plants already dead at Home Depot and don’t have to wait the 3-4 weeks to kill them off yourself.

©Pat Coakley 2008

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  • Tysdaddy, I can have fun just about anywhere.

    Sweetiegirlz: you are probably exactly right! One woman had apparently been in the house and whispered to me, “You don’t want to go in there.”

  • I can say, with out a doubt, that I would have been standing there with my hand outstretched, informing the “guide” that I would be getting 50% of my money back.

    I’m not argumentative by nature, but I’ve noticed that the longer that live the life of a small business owner, the more assertive I get about what I’m owed.

    I would have been steamed. It sounds like you handled it better than I would have.

    Turkish Prawn

  • This guy really sounds inspiring, makes me just want to hop outside into the garden and start playing with my empty pots. Plants and me, well we’ve never really seen eye to eye, I walk past and they wilt to the ground begging me never to cross their path again *shrug* must be my perfume or something… possibly too fresh :D

  • Turkish, you know, I am sure some of the people on this tour will demand their money back from the adult educational center that sponsored it. So, you would have some company. I just felt that it was almost so bad that it was good. But, that’s me.

    I discovered gardening later in life, Sanity! You never know. One day a dying plant just might perk up as you go by!

  • That sounds like a marvelous tour! I think you and I may have a similar outlook on life – take it as it comes and make the best of it that you can. The money spent on a “tour” doesn’t really have anything to do with how “good” or “bad” the tour is. You spent a certain amount of money for an experience. It soulnds like you had a heck of an experience. It doesn’t seem like it was exactly what you were expecting, but it doesn’t sound like a bad way to spend an hour or so, either. Your pocket is emptier, but your life is richer.

  • Love-love that hostos photo! I think that ‘tour’ might have driven me mad … I’d have had to wander away long before that hour-early end!