ADAMCZYK: Final score, 6-3, for a long, long time

Ed Adamczyk

We tell time in a variety of ways. Yeah, clocks, but seasons, however defined, can have an enormously personal impact. There are the four we learned about in elementary school; those are the ones that television news readers take delight in pointing out when they occur, despite the lack of impact on a viewer’s life. If your idea of winter begins when the first evident snowflakes fly, then you’ve got four more months of summer and/or fall, and make note that climate change can impact all of that like the fine print in a warranty.

Already there are television advertisements for back-to-school clothes and supplies. Training camp of the Buffalo Bills begins on Sunday. There are about six weeks before Labor Day, some people’s idea of the end to summer. When sportscaster Marv Albert was in a serious traffic accident and a police officer kept him awake before the arrival of an ambulance by asking questions and seeking responses, he asked what day it was, what year it was, what season it was.

Basketball season, Albert replied. It’s all in how you look at it.

The way I look at it, seasons are movable and we’re about halfway through summer, and while that may mean Canal Fest or similar opportunity to contract COVID-19 and eat fried dough, to me it mean the start of garden tours, and if you think that means merely visiting the back yards of old ladies to observe petunias in neat rows, well, you should see some of these layouts.

Many communities offer these weekend events. You get a map of participants and are welcomed into residential backyards to see what amounts, in many cases, to artwork. If you’re the type who’s impressed by a neighbor rebuilding a ’57 Chevy in his garage, this is for you.

I have seen backyards done up like the 17th hole at Augusta National, with a pool table-flat putting green surrounded by flowers. No Astroturf here, it’s all natural, and magnificent in miniature.

I have seen waterfalls from elevations eight feet above the lawn, all with various forms of rock and vegetation, and almost needless to say, it’s illuminated for nighttime magnificence like Niagara Falls.

I visited a backyard in which grapes were grown for homemade wine, as was barley and hops for homemade beer. Hops evidently grow on long vines; they dangled from the low gutters of the home.

As St. Augustine once said, anything worth doing is worth doing to excess, and these otherwise ordinary homeowners go overboard with their works, then welcome an opportunity to show it off; hence, the Garden Tour. The practitioners are either small-scale gods of nature, or artists with a canvas the size of the yard. Indeed, this stuff is as close as some people will ever get to creating art.

I often note the same thing about home Halloween decoration, but you get the idea.

Some creators go for serenity, others for memorials or inventive blending of light and dark foliage. There are pathways, handmade railroad trains and birdhouses, and ponds. Oh, the ponds.

Many are stocked with koi. Think of a one-pound goldfish, and I always ask the artist what becomes of the fish in winter. They’re delicately placed in a basement aquarium, I am always told. Then I ask if he or she has ever considered frying them, maybe with a little butter and garlic. You should see the expressions of horror at the idea.

The concept of executing a backyard wonderland may seem like a, shall we say, non-macho way to spend one’s time, but I have hauled rocks, topsoil and peat moss on numerous occasions, and be assured, these creations are made with not only love and planning but muscle and blood. The sweat equity involved in making things bloom on cue, not to mention the use of lights and other special effects, is extensive. The product is remarkable.

Admittedly, I would not have been pulled into observing these exercises in fantasy set design had the main female in my life not urged me to take a look, and if you’re the type who wants to know why welding is going on in your neighbor’s garage, you’re the type who’d likely appreciate all of this, even though it’s artistic expression in flowers and shrubbery. and fish and little railroad trains. One of these weekends has been organized in or near your neighborhood during summer’s hottest days. The people are friendly and informative, eager to explain it all and will not obligate you to lift anything heavy, and at the very least, you’ll have a better idea of what your neighbors are up to. I’ll see you on the tour.

EdinKenmore@gmail.com

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