Chanticleer Garden

Just a short drive from Philadelphia, Chanticleer is one of the great gardens in this area. Once the Rosengarten estate, today Chanticleer is a contemporary garden situated in a  historic setting.   Garden Design magazine has dubbed this “America’s most inspiring garden.”

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Coneflowers in the Pond Garden area
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Expectantly awaiting blossoms!
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Sunset glistening on the maple trees on the elevated walkway

“The Chanticleer estate dates from the early 20th-century, when land along the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad was developed for summer homes to escape the heat of Philadelphia. Adolph Rosengarten, Sr., and his wife Christine chose the Wayne-St. Davids area to build their country retreat. The family’s pharmaceutical firm would become part of Merck in the 1920s.”

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Clematis and Climbing Hydrangea
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Barley in the Serpentine Meadow

They purchased a neighboring property in 1933. It is now the site of the Minder Ruin Garden composed of three “rooms”. The Great Hall; The Library; and The Pool Room

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The Great Hall with its fountain shaped like a large sarcophagus

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Marble Faces gaze up from the depths of a fountain in the Ruins in ‘The Pool Room’

As you leave the Ruins you enter the Gravel Garden filled with orange butterfly weed, grasses, Alliums and a variety of other plants including Yuccas.

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Gravel Garden

Gravel Garden

Daughter Emily’s house, located at today’s visitor entrance, was built for her in 1935. It is presently used for offices and classrooms. Here is another house on the property.

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The heirs left the entire property for the enjoyment of the public   The garden opened to the public in 1993.  If you are in the area and are visiting gardens be sure to check out both Chanticleer and Longwood Gardens.

Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens

Morikami celebrates the connection between Japan and South Florida.  Little did I know that in the early 1900s, Japanese farmers arrived in southern Florida and formed an agricultural colony called Yamato, an ancient name for Japan. Most of those farmers returned to Japan but one of the remaining settlers George Sukeji Morikami donated his land to Palm Beach County as a park to preserve the memory of the Yamato Colony.

The garden consists of 16 acres of authentic Japanese gardens and art exhibits.  There is even an authentic tea house and don’t miss Hotei, their resident god of happiness.

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This remains the only museum dedicated to Japanese living culture and the gardens are among the finest outside of Japan. So let’s begin our walking tour:

As you exit the main building you are immediately in front of the Wisdom Ring (Chie no Wa) which is a replica of a 500 year old stone lantern, a symbol of Delray Beach’s  sister city in Japan.

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Wisdom Ring

Next up cross the Memorial Bridge marking the entrance to the gardens and symbolizing the link between Japan and Florida.

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Memorial Bridge

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Follow the path to the Shinden Garden which recreates the 9th – 12th century Heian Period that featured lakes and islands and emphasized informality always with an appreciation of nature and often meant to be viewed from the water.

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The “Ancient Gate” (Kodai-mon) was inspired by the large mansions of samurai leaders from 1600 – 1868. Walking through this area of the garden you pass through a Bamboo Grove and the lovely sound of the bamboo stalks knocking against each other as the breeze blows.  It was a lovely, musical sound and I am sorry I didn’t do a video for you to hear the clinking of the stalks.

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Ancient Gate
Morikami Bamboo Grove
Bamboo Grove

The Paradise Garden or Buddhist heaven was meant for casual exploration.

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Paradise Garden

I need one of these!  The Shishi Odoshi or “Deer Chaser” is a swinging bamboo arm that collects water and then strikes a rock basin below and startles the animals who shouldn’t be there!!!!! I am definitely creating one of these in my garden!

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Deer Chaser

The Karesansui, Late Rock Garden which means dry landscape consists of rocks not plants and features a bed of raked gravel.

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Continue on through the Modern Romantic Garden as inspired by the late 19th – 20th century gardens with its very naturalistic setting which leads you to the Contemplation Pavilion. No real view to speak of from here but every twist and turn of the path through this garden affords some incredible views.

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The South Gate is the exit from the historical gardens in contrast with the Ancient Gate.

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Yamato Island is the site of the original Morikami Museum and the island represents a modern garden emphasizing the relationship between interior and exterior spaces.  The Bonsai Collection of trees are housed here.  A unique collection of Bonsai for sure!

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The tour ends at the Morikami Falls a dramatic and powerful waterfall set among massive boulders signaling the end of your journey thru the garden or maybe you are ready to take another walk around so see what you might have missed the first time!!!

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These six gardens are inspired by the famous gardens of Japan and encourage you to find peace in the environment and within one’s self. So if even just for a little while leave the outside world behind and just be one with nature.  Visit a garden today!!!

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Attracting Pollinators to your Garden

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Black Eyed Susans – Rudbeckia

Pollinators are crucial to the production of most fruits, nuts and berries including apples, oranges, tomatoes and blueberries.  There are many plants that will attract hummingbirds, butterflies and bees to your property.  In order to attract these pollinators plant a succession of blooming annuals, perennials and shrubs so pollen is available throughout the growing season. Planting flowers in large drifts and different shapes will also help attract pollinators. Just as we can’t find a ‘needle in a haystack’ neither can they.  One plant will not say ‘COME HERE’ to my yard!  Be Bold!

Butterflies are attracted to red, yellow, and purple blossoms that are flat topped or clustered and have short flower tubes and they prefer to feed only in the sun. Sunflowers, Zinnias, Lupines, Red-osier Dogwood,  Chokecherry and Asters are a few. Female butterflies select specific plants on which to lay their eggs. The Monarch butterfly relies on Ascelpias – Butterfly weed as it serves as a Host and Nectar plant.

 

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Verbena bonariensis
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Yarrow

Hummingbirds are attracted to scarlet, orange, red or white tubular flowers sipping nectar from long tubular honeysuckle flowers as well as Verbena, Zinnias and Penstemon.

Bees are attracted to bright white, yellow or blue and purple flowers so plant several colors in your yard to attract a variety of pollinators such as Black-eyed Susan’s and Sunflowers. Bees, unlike Hummingbirds and Butterflies feed only on flowers gathering nectar and pollen.

You will get hours of enjoyment watching the hummingbirds and butterflies dance around your garden and think of all the cut flowers you will have for bouquets!

Some Plants that attract polliantors:

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Joe Pye Weed

 

 

 

 

 

Salvia guaranitica; Asceplias; Agastache; Asters; Verbena bonariensis; Rudbeckia – Black-eyed Susans; Lavender; Lespedeza;  Leucanthemum- Daisy; Ligularia, Coreposis, Helianthus annus- Sunflowers; Baptisa, Catmint, Solidago – Goldenrod, (not to be confused with Ragweed); Lilacs, Antirrhinum – Snapdragons; Buddleia – Butterfly Bush; Zinnias, Penstemon; Phlox; Allium, Cosmos, Monarda- Bee balm- Eupatorium- Joe Pye weed; Columbine; Echinacea- Coneflower; Achillea millefolium – Yarrow to name just a few.

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Bleeding Hearts – Dicentra spectabilis

 

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Phlox ‘David’
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Zinnias

A great source for plants to attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds to your garden is White Flower Farm.  They can help you select a variety of plants to keep a steady supply of pollen and nectar available all throughout the growing season. You can find them at  White Flower Farm

 

Do you want more ideas for Pollinators? Here is a previous Blog-A few more Pollinators

Garden Ornaments and its finally time to get out in the Garden!

Art in the Garden is certainly not a new idea.  It provides a practical purpose as a place for the eye to rest or be drawn to. It can be artsy, a container, a sculpture, a spiritual figure, an arbor, water feature or any type of vessel.  It provides structural definition and architecture to the garden.  It creates geometry.

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Hummingbird birdbath

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This can also be accomplished with clipped shapes or allee’s which emphasize the geometry of your garden.  In these instances maybe boxwoods or trees create the geometry and symmetry.

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Clipped boxwoods, Vessel, Tulips

Merge your art into your planting beds.  Your plants should be the frosting on the cake!

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Water fountain among the Daisies and bee balm
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Fun garden art in among the peonies
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Nepeta with Statuary among the flowers
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Water fountain

I spent today pruning shrubs, cleaning up leaves, removing the thick layer of mulch I put down around my roses and tender perennials.  Finally I think we may have turned the corner and I took off the burlap coats that I bundled some of my newly transplanted roses and hydrangeas in last fall. I think the Boxwood that I have now transplanted 3 times made it thru as did my new Oakleaf Hydrangeas.

Use garden supports to create winter interest and structure.

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Be whimsical

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Always when planning your garden start with the structure of the property!  In reality 20% – 50% of your garden should be evergreen and shrubs.  Remember we talked a few weeks ago about planting for winter interest.  We need to think of our gardens as a year round canvas.  A low maintenance garden might include 40% evergreens, 35% deciduous shrubs and 25% perennials, ground covers and bulbs. Try planting in masses of 9 -50 for broad sweeps of color, texture and pattern.

The goal is to create layers of interest throughout the year. Vertical elements will frame the garden views. Pay attention to the view from your windows.  Where do you most often see your garden from inside.  Create focal points around these axis points when creating major elements of your landscape, patios and walls.

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Out the kitchen window

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Pay attention to the traffic flow throughout the garden. Of course, you must remember sun and shade and check your Zone when selecting plants. Create different rooms in your garden so there is always something just around the corner and consider a separation of public and private space.  There should be a reason to continue to meander through. Collect pictures that speak to you style, feelings and the light in your space.  Dream as big as possible then evaluate your site. If you have an amazing view try to frame it, almost like a photograph!

If you are starting from scratch, I recommend a qualified garden designer.  Like any renovation the job is always bigger than we anticipate and a knowledgeable professional can guide you thru the pitfalls.  Remember that plants take time to mature. I usually tell people it takes 3 years for perennials to start to reach their full potential.  If a plant is really struggling maybe try it in a different spot.  Is it getting the correct amount of light and water.

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Hydrangea ‘Pink Diamond’ on left with Loosestrife

 

Remember that every property has its assets and limitations created by sun and shade, soil and water.  There are always plants that will thrive in each condition.  Match the plants to the site and include ornamentals.  Instead of all your containers being on the porch move them out into the flower garden where you can add some height and dimension.  Plants requiring special needs can find a home here.  Don’t forget to mix vegetables into your flower beds.  No one says vegetables all need to be in a separate bed!  I mix my herbs, especially  sage, oregano, rosemary and chives into my beds. Last year I experimented with Kale and loved it!  The dark green leaves were an awesome contrast to the surrounding plants and help hide some struggling shrubs that I transplanted, yet again!

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Artichokes

Pay attention to the labels.  We are all guilty of going to the garden center and falling in love with this and that only to realize we have brought home something that will not work in our landscape.  Full sun means sun for the greater part of the day, typically 6 hours or more.  Daylilies for example.  Shade can be a little challenging.  We see full shade, part shade, dappled shade, light shade, so confusing right!  Full shade really means full shade for the entire day.  Plants that need full shade often get scorched when sunlight fades them out. When considering part shade morning sun is always preferable as it is not as strong.  Avoid afternoon sun when possible. Light shade means 2-3 hours of shade during the hottest part of the day. There are literally many, many plants for any given situation. Just like with painting, preparation is key.  If you take the time to properly prepare your garden beds you will find success.

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Try to get out and visit public gardens to see what combinations they have on display. Note how the plant is growing.  Is it in shade, sun, water, very moist conditions. Remember that foliage is truly important as no perennials or shrub blooms all year. Plan your garden with a succession of bloom by selecting plants that bloom at different times of the season and then sit back and enjoy the show!

Spring Arrangements & Flowering Plants

After a long winter I love to bring color back into my home as soon as possible. The houseplants have done their duty and brightened the gray days as best they can but now we all want some color!

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When planning your garden or rejuvenating it remember to plan for a variety of sizes, colors, sounds, shapes and textures to provide movement for the eye and a wide variety for bouquets and of course, to support pollinators.

Here are some early spring stars for bouquets that can be used to create the base or backbone of your floral arrangements:

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Tulips

Trees and shrubs – use the branches and flowers: Magnolia, Lilacs, Viburnum, Quince, Andromeda, Forsythia, Fothergilla, Ninebarks ( Physocarpus), Serviceberry (Amelanchier), Spirea, Deutzia, Azalea and Rhododendrons, Redbuds, Mock Orange, Red or Yellow Twig Dogwoods, Corylopsis (Winterhazel), Crabapples, Cherry and Apricot trees.

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Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Alexandrina’ saucer magnolia
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Flowering Cherry
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A Lilac allee’

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Forsythia on the Hudson River at NYBG

Spring flowers that are ideal for arrangements: Peonies, Hyacinths, Tulips, Daffodils, Lilacs, Alliums, Muscari, Pasque Flowers, Frittilaria, Roses, and Ranunculus to name a few!

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Muscari
Allium
Alliums
Daffodil field- Laurel Ridge
Daffodils as far as the eye can see!
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Pasque flower

Here are my top picks for more spring flowering perennials and bulbs.

Hellebores, Siberian Iris, Primrose, Feverfew, Alliums, Wisteria, Amsonia, Baptisa, Bleeding Hearts, Lady’s Mantle, Epimedium, Roses, Hypericum, Solomon’s Seal, Hosta leaves and Lobelias

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Bleeding Hearts – Dicentra spectabilis
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Siberian Iris

Also, don’t forget veggies when making arrangements.  Think about baby carrots, artichokes and curly kale and parsley.

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I love to pair Siberian Iris, Nepeta, Sage, Allium Globemaster or Gladiator, Amsonia and Baptisa and I mix them with Daylilies, Heuchera and Grasses for all season bloom after the spring flush is done.

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My spring garden

If you want to have flowers for cutting be sure to plant in large drifts not one here and one there. Planning for the next season now will yield you beautiful arrangements all year!

Are you interested in how I created my garden from scratch in just a few months? Here is a link to: Anatomy of a New Garden

Grasses- The Backbone of the Fall & Winter garden

There are grasses to suit every need and every garden no matter what climate you live in.  Slowly over the summer they grow and slowly by fall they capture you with the amazing structure they bring to the garden. They explode as the season progresses providing a perfect backdrop for late summer and fall blossoms like Dahlias and Black-eyed Susan’s. I now have so many different grasses in my garden and they serve as the backbone of each of my different beds. The foliage and seed heads can be variegated, gold, blue, red, dark-leaved, moisture loving, shade loving, sun loving, tall, short or just spectacular for fall color. They make great companions to other perennials like roses. They can be planted in planters, used just as accent plants, used to line or create pathways, to edge a border or even in water gardens.

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When the light shines thru the seed heads they are electric; lighting up the entire garden no matter the weather. Grasses capture light like no other plants I know. When backlit they almost glow from within and this is the ideal way to showcase them.

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Mine are mixed with Russian Sage, Salvias, Dahlias, Phlox, Black-eyed Susan’s, Daisies and Daylilies. I use them to create backdrops for my flower beds where hardscape is not possible. Certainly if you have a wall or other structures grasses can soften those features.

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The texture of different grasses provides a plethora of finely textured shapes all within the category of grasses.  You could just have grasses and no two would look the same. I love that grasses are such low maintenance plants.  Frankly, other garden plants take plenty of my time so these hard working plants can just take care of themselves.

Here are some of my grasses. Frankly, I’m losing track as my grasses as tags get lost.  When choosing grasses for your garden remember to check the water and light requirements, pest issues like deer and rabbit resistance before selecting.

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Little Zebra’ – ornamental grass Zone 5-9 Hgt 3-4’ (6-8’ tall when flowering) Wine-purple fading to tan; winter interest; Full sun to part shade

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Miscanthus sinesis “Gracillimus’ – ornamental grass- Zone 5-9 Hgt 4-7’. (8’ tall when flowering) Copper maturing to Silver; Great winter interest; Full sun to part shade

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Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’ – Maiden Grass – Zone 5-9 Hgt 4-6’ (Flower stalks 6’ tall) Narrow green leaves with white Variegation on margins; Silvery appearance; Full sun to part shade but best in Full sun (far back left next to Norway Spruce)

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Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ – Feather Reed grass – Zone 5-9 Hgt 3′ (5′ tall when flowering) Purplish-Green flowers turn golden as seeds mature; Winter interest

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Miscanthus sinensis ‘Yakushima’- and ‘Yakushima Dwarf’ – Maiden Grass Zone 5-9 Hgt 3-4’  (Can reach up to 8’ tall) Very showy; Full Sun

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Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’ – Switch Grass Zone 5-9 Hgt 4-5’ (6’ tall when flowering) Olive green to bluish-green foliage with yellow flower panicles; Winter Interest; Full sun to part shade.  Full Sun is best

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Panicum virgatum ‘Rotstrahlbusch’ – Switch Grass Zone 5-9 Hgt 3’ (5’ tall when flowering) Silver-green leaves turning burgundy red; Winter interest; Full sun to part shade, Full sun is best

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Panicum virgatum ‘Ruby Ribbons’ – Switch Grass Zone 4-9 Hgt 2-3’ (4’ tall when flowering) ; Blue-green foliage that matures to purple-red. Performs best in Full Sun

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Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’ – Switch Grass Zone 5-9 Hgt 3-4’ Burgundy-Red foliage with reddish pink flower panicles; Full sun to part shade

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This year!
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Just planted last year

Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moudry’ – Black Flowering Fountain Grass Zone 5-9 Hgt 2- 2.5’ (3’ tall when flowering) Best in full sun but can take part shade; Dark purple flower spikes (cover photo)

Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Red Head’ – Red Fountain Grass Zone 5 -9 Hgt 2.5-5’; Winter interest; Burgundy-Red plumes; Full sun

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Softening hardscape (rock and fountain)

Pennisetum oritentale ‘Karley Rose’ – Oriental Fountain Grass Zone 5-8 Hgt 18″  (3’ tall + when flowering) Winter interest; Showy, fluffy, pinkish-white flower spikes; Full Sun

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Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Standing Ovation’ – Little Blue Stem Zone 5-9 Hgt 3-4′ Brilliant fiery colored foliage though the fall

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Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ and ‘All Gold’ – Japanese Forest Grass Zone 5-9 Hgt 1 – 1.5’ Woodland Grass – Part Shade- Aureola is a golden striped form; All Gold has bright golden yellow leaves.

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Chasmanthium latifolium – Northern Sea Oats Zone 3-8 Hgt 2 – 5’ Self seeds if not cut; Good in an area that you can naturalize- another words- let it do its thing. Full sun to part shade; Seed heads emerge green but turn purplish bronze. Bright green leaves.

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Carex morrowii ‘Evergold’ – Sedge Part Shade Hgt 12-14″ (in front of bird bath)

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I also use annual grasses for color contrast and backdrop in my annual bed.

Pennisetum setaceum ‘Rubrum’ – Fountain Grass -Zone 9-10 Hgt 3-5′ Full Sun

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Now for the topic of cutting down grasses in fall.  This is really a question of taste.  Can you see your garden from the house? In winter, let’s face it – if we can’t see these plants or structures in the garden from inside you will not have much enjoyment from them.  In that case cut them down.  I typically leave mine up but tie them around so they don’t flop at the first sign of snowfall. This way I can watch them sway in the breeze, or more accurately WIND at my house! Be sure in either case that they get cut down in early spring before the new growth starts. Having said that some grasses do self seed and those you will want to deadhead or just cut down. I forgot to do that last year with my Sea Oats and I paid dearly for it all this year pulling out those unwanted seedlings.

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If your grasses are starting to have large areas that are not blooming it is probably time to divide them.  There are many great books out there on grasses. I really like “Grasses” by Nancy Ondra.

One of the best resources for plant information is Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder.  I use this to check zone compatibility, water and sun requirements, deer and rabbit resistance and soil preference. Another resource for information on Coleus: Plant Care Today

As you drive around notice how grasses are being used in your area!

HANDY TIPS for autumn garden clean up (Seed heads for Flower Arranging)

Fall foliage can afford some of the loveliest plant arrangements.  This time of year we find all types of seed heads to use in our decorating.  So, before you cut down everything in your garden save a few items for decorating and if not save the seed heads for the birds who love to stick around all winter.

Here are some that I have in my yard but look around your property and in the woods for more treasures! You can also use Hydrangeas that you have dried, Pine Cones, Grasses, Pods or all sorts, Cattails, Echinops, Dried Thistle, Poppy Pods,Dried Iris Pods, Sunflower seed heads, Black Eyed Susan and Coneflowers, Alliums, Clematis, Ligularia, Oaklead Hydrangea leaves and berries galore! Be creative and think out of the box to decorate your Thanksgiving table.  Send me pictures of your creations!

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Allium seedhead
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Clematis seedhead
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Black Eyed Susan
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Ligularia
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Oakleaf Hydrangea
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Sedum

Trade Secrets 2017 – The Major General Ashley House

This eighteenth century house sits on an incredible piece of property overlooking the Housatonic River. Mature sugar maples, black locusts and an ancient willow make this property one to behold. The property is naturalized with daffodils and ferns beneath these mighty trees as well as other spring bulbs. The lawn slopes down to the bend in the river compelling you to stop and take it all in!

A formal garden of boxwood parterres and brick paths frame the front of the house. Wooden tuteurs in the center are clematis supports with the beds being filled with tulips in spring and Peonies and Russian Sage in summer.  The garden is enclosed with the quintessential wooden picket fence and a spirea hedge with crabapples surrounding the garden giving some relief from the road.

Parterre

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Have you ever tried to espalier a tree? Look how beautiful!

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If this doesn’t say come relax and enjoy the beauty I don’t know what does!

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Housatonic River

Entry into the pool area is through this door a unique element in the privet hedge encouraging you to see what is beyond.

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The pool house

 

The gardens were filled with blooming bleeding hearts in several varieties and color variations

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Bleeding Hearts
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A child’s swing just waiting for you to play.

Did you miss the other Trade Secrets Open Gardens? Here is a link to Coltsfoot Garden 

For more information on Trade Secrets and Women’s Support Services see earlier blogs.

See all the Blogs on Garden Conservancy Days, trips to Italy, and stay tuned for my upcoming trip to Tuscany and Venice in the coming weeks.

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 🙂

 

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