Illustration by James Callahan
Spring is upon us, despite weather conditions never really changing over from fall. It was more of a wintumn, or a sprinter.
Spring is also the start of gardening season, and if you're lucky, you might even get yourself invited to a traditional Richmond garden party. You could also attend the many green (and purple, red, yellow, et cetera) events this month: Tour the Japanese Garden's cherry blossoms at Maymont on April 1; see orchids at Lewis Ginter during A Million Blooms through April 22; or catch the gardens of many Monument Avenue homes from afar on April 8 at Easter on Parade, which, if that was unclear, will take place on Easter.
Of course, no April would be complete without the statewide Historic Garden Week from April 21 to 28. Safe to say that if you consider yourself a horticulture aficionado, April is your month, baby.
Still, if you've never been to a garden party before and feel nervous about your first time, don't be! Here are some helpful tips to get you through this classy Southern springtime tradition.
GARDEN PARTY ETIQUETTE
- Always be sure to remove your shoes before entering someone's garden.
- When leaving a garden party, it is courteous to plant a four-second kiss firmly on the host's mouth.
- If the host is a man, compliment his impressive perennials. Male gardeners love receiving recognition for their large perennial displays.
- Garden tour at your own risk, as there are no lifeguards on duty at the goldfish ponds.
- If you are a beetle or a rabbit, you are not welcome on any garden tour. Same goes if you are a feral hog.
- It's considered rude to laugh at gardeners' little shovels and rakes. Gardeners take their mini-tools very seriously.
- It is customary to offer a gift that will contribute to the cultivation of the garden. Bring a crate of bees to pollinate flowers.
- Try not to stare or point at the hydrangeas, as they get offended easily. Crape myrtles, however, are great conversationalists and have the highest IQ of any plant in Virginia.
- Be sure to talk loudly about how Richmond is located in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 7. You'll sound smart to others, despite having no idea what that means.
- If you don't know the name of a flower, go with "tulip." If someone gives you an odd look as if you are wrong, try "orchid." If you are still getting weird looks, run away as fast as possible.