Shortly after talking with a persuasive Northwest Perennial Alliance recuiter at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, I went to www.N-P-A.org and became a member of this group. I had been meaning to do this for quite some time and had even filled in an application but never sent it. Now this can all be done online in very short order. I didn't know what the big deal was really and I'm not much of a joiner but thought that maybe this would be worth trying. In a couple weeks after becoming a member, "The Perennial Post" the organization's (quarterly I'm guessing) newsletter full of great information and a schedule of events came in the mail.
Today arrived the "yellow book" that I'd heard about that lists open gardens, over 75 of them. They are conveniently grouped so that every weekend May through mid September there is a group of 4 - 10 gardens in roughly the same area that will be open to NPA members and some that are open by appointment. There are even directions! A tour of gardens every weekend, all summer long... Yowza! Much as I've enjoyed knocking on the doors of strangers and asking to photograph their gardens, this seems like a much easier way to do things! There is also a list of nurseries that offer discounts on plants (up to 25%) for members bearing their cards.
Are their groups like this in your area? Have you joined? If so, what was your experience like?