Stop and smell the spirea
The growing season in the Wood River Valley is succinct. It begins amid the mid-June snowmelt and ends abruptly, in clouds of color as the asters finally bloom, tomatoes ripen and the autumn joy sedum turns brilliant rust red with October’s first frost.
Gardeners here turn the challenge of long, dry days into semi-arid success. This year’s abundant snow is both blessing and curse; extra melt water is a boon, but by the time north-facing bulbs emerge from beneath icy tombs, the summer may be in full blaze. Given such capricious patterns, locals plant accordingly and quickly.
Thankfully, for green-thumbed inspiration, there are garden tours. Local homeowners swing open their garden gates twice this summer for sociable self-guided tours. Experts are often on hand with advice as are artists and musicians reveling in the botanic bounty. Carpooling, walking or pedaling to the petals is always encouraged. Water and hats are a must. Think of it as a tea party in sturdy shoes.
Tour the flora
North and mid-Valley: Tour private gardens in East Fork and Gimlet with the 13th annual Sawtooth Botanical Garden Tour on Saturday, July 12, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.