Road Tripping in CT

Every year we say it couldn’t get any more beautiful and then the next year comes and surprises us.  After an extremely dry summer here in CT the Fall is turning out to be amazing.  Okay we have our ups and downs.  Today it was snowing, then cloudy, then sunny, then snowing.  Wow Mother Nature seems confused but she is bestowing the most amazing colors in the leaves.  Enough said!!  Here are some of the many photos I shot this weekend in Northwestern CT. If you can’t get here in person I hope this will make you “FEEL” the magnificence that is all around us.  Do not take any day for granted and live each day to the fullest of your ability. Life like the seasons are short.  Make the most of your time!

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Barn in Cornwall, CT
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Covered Bridge West Cornwall
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West Cornwall
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West Cornwall Housatonic River

 

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Salisbury, CT
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Salisbury all dressed up for Halloween
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Pumpkins in Norfolk, CT
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Can’t live without mums in the fall
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Pleasant Valley, CT town green ablaze in yellows
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View from Mohawk Mountain in Goshen towards NY
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Farm in Goshen, CT

 

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Farm life in Northwestern CT
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Town Bridge in Collinsville, CT
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Farmington River in Collinsville, CT

And of course what would October be without late blooming annuals

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Cleome

and those leaves!

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Bittersweet and Berries

And pumpkins, pumpkins and more pumpkins!

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Get out there and enjoy before it snows 🙂

 

IN SEARCH of FALL FOLIAGE in VERMONT

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Once fall comes around  the air gets crisp and clean and we long for those vibrant colors that fall foliage brings in New England.  It’s time to carve pumpkins, buy mums and cornstalks, bob for apples, design our Halloween costumes and relish the break from the heat of summer before the winter inevitably buries everything with a blanket of snow.

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Can’t live without mums in the fall

 

I spent last weekend road tripping through Vermont in search of all those fall experiences. We ate cider donuts at the Equinox Nursery in Manchester,VT http://www.equinoxvalleynursery.com/  and had lunch at The Little Rooster also in Manchester (a personal favorite for the last 25 years). Then it was up Route 7 to Rutland and over to Killington and Woodstock.  Woodstock, VT may be one of the most charming towns anywhere in New England.

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The Apple Barn
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Kedron Valley Inn

 

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We were lucky enough to snag a room at the Kedron Valley Inn in South Woodstock http://www.kedronvalleyinn.com/   before heading south to Weston, CT on Route 100 and then to Okemo in Ludlow, VT.

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Weston Playhouse

We took the mountain road to the top of Okemo Mountain for some breathtaking views.  Sadly, very little foliage has changed yet but it is coming of course!  Here are some memories from the weekend. Enjoy!

 

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Winterberry
Winterberries and Pumpkins

Finally, making our way to our home away from home Mount Snow and another favorite spot for lunch the Valley View Saloon in West Dover, VT. http://www.valleyviewsaloon.com/

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Mount Snow Vermont

Soon it will be time for skiing and I love the winter but there is something so special about fall here in the Northeast.  Come see us sometime!

 

Designing with Color

When planning your garden basic design color principles apply both inside and outside.  Color schemes can be used in several different ways depending on the mood you wish to create.  When talking about color the conversation automatically goes to the basic color wheel. (Color Wheel courtesy of Sessions College)

There are primary colors: Red, Blue and Yellow; then the Secondary colors of Violet, Orange and Green and Tertiary colors which are colors made by mixing a primary color and an adjacent secondary color.  An example would be orange-red; yellow-orange or lime green which is a mixture of green and yellow.

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So first let’s look at Complementary colors.  These are opposite each other on the color wheel like red and green, yellow and purple and orange and blue. These combinations offer the most contrast and provide visual stimulation.  Typically you will want to use more of the cooler color which recedes visually and that is balanced by less of the other color which will advance towards you.  The ‘Pop”!  But beware don’t pop”onesies” here and there.  It will cause the eye to jump all over.  Try to buy at least 3 of any plant.  You will be more successful if you plant in drifts of color and plants vs. trying to bring home one of every little goody you find.  I must say that I am also guilty of doing this.  Sometimes I just can’t resist and I will then use that one plant and test it out for a season and see if my soil, sun and climate will work for that newbie before buying more of them.  Experiment!  It is really hard to go wrong when planting since you can always move the plant if you don’t like where you placed it.

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Purple and yellow

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Red and Green
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Purple and Yellow
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Orange and Blue

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Analogous color schemes utilize neighboring hues on the color wheel.  They are typically warm or cool when most successfully used. Analogous colors lie between two primary colors like crimson. violet and violet-blue. These combinations are easy on the eye and the colors just seem to go together.  They are adjacent on the color wheel.

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Mohonk Mountain Hotel
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Yellow-Yellow Orange – Orange – Red Orange – Red
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Red Violet – Purple

When discussing color you will hear people refer to hue, value or chroma of a color.  The Hue is the name of the color such as red or blue. The Value of a color refers to its lightness or darkness and the Chroma is the strength of the color. Again, repetition is key in garden design.

Monochromatic schemes have one color used throughout.  In the case of the garden, green is a neutral color but even a garden can have too much green.  Look for different textures, heights and a variety of colors like, green, lime, yellow-green, blue-green so the view isn’t boring.  Hostas are a great example of the tremendous range of color available in a single plant species.  Heuchera is another! I bet you can find Heuchera in every color under the sun these days!  Always provide some darker and lighter plants for interest.  Relief in every color scheme can be added by sprinkling in whites.  This will break up the palette and keep the energy and the eye moving.  Remember that colors can be warm or cool.  Yellows can lean towards green or towards orange and this will guide you to the companion plants you might plant nearby.

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Verbena bonariensis
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Brooklyn Botanic Gardens – Monochromatic
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Nepeta

 

Whatever your color scheme if you have a garden that you would like photographed call me!  I understand when the light is right, the bloom time is perfect and as a gardener I love my gardens and always want to preserve the moments that come and go and change almost daily.

You can find me at www.lensidesigns.com where you can link to my Flickr page that will showcase many of my photographs.  Need a gift?  I can help with that too.  I can have a print made for you to give as a gift, ready to hang on archival paper, no frame necessary.  Maybe treat yourself!!!

Happy Gardening!!!

Some plants are attractive all year but really shine in the winter. Of course, you must think beyond just evergreens. Some trees and shrubs have beautiful bark and spectacular winter color like the Red Osier Dogwood ‘Baileys Red’. Ornamental grasses provide movement and are luminescent against the snow and go great with evergreen shrubs. Consider Miscanthus or Calamagrostis grass. Create lots of variety!

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Consider perennials with seed heads like Rudbeckia, Black Eyed Susan’s or Echinacea, Coneflowers

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Many shrubs have berries like Winterberry, Inkberry, Hollies, Viburnum and some have beautiful foliage like the Witch Hazels.

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Witch Hazel – Hamamelis
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Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’
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Viburnum

You are looking for trees and shrubs that attract attention in winter but still provide interest throughout the rest of the growing season. Interest can be provided with berries, exfoliating bark, early blossoms or gorgeous architectural branching.  Here are some examples:

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Aronia – Black Chokeberry – lovely berries
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Heptacodium – has wonderful exfoliating bark

 

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Exfoliating bark on Acer griseum and Betula nigra- River Birch

Ilex verticillata – Winterberry Holly- berries in winter

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Winterberry
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Callicarpa dichotoma – Beautyberry – ‘Early amethyst’

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Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)

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Oriental Bittersweet has become established as this vine is highly attractive as an ornamental.  The fruits continue to be sold for dried flower arrangements and are frequently disposed of on compost or brush piles where birds and small animals can spread the seeds.  Why is this important you ask?

Oriental Bittersweet is invasive in many areas of the country.  It is a rapidly spreading deciduous, twining vine with clusters of bright orange pods.  This vine can smother plants and can strangle shrubs and small trees and weaken mature trees making them more susceptible to damage. (IPSAWG)

It is advisable not to buy, sell or plant Oriental Bittersweet so you can help to eradicate this plant.  It can be pulled out by the root and then removed from the site. Sadly Oriental Bittersweet can be mislabeled as American Bittersweet which is native and non-invasive.

When choosing any plants for your property ask for non-invasive species.

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