In their effort to make the world a more beautiful place the owners of Lavender Pond Farm have created a little slice of heaven right here in Connecticut on 25 acres now filled with all sorts of lavender varieties.
Located in Killingworth, CT the Farm caters to lavender and garden lovers alike. Lavender typically blooms from June into August but can last later depending on the weather. With almost 10,000 plants in the fields there are 12 varieties including: Grosso, Munstead, Edelweiss, Hidcote Giant and Provence.
Children old and young enjoy walking thru the fields, taking their family photos and just enjoying the outdoors. Check out the Rooster and his harem or play some chess on the life size board.
To help with the necessary pollination they have honey bees which play an important role.
Recently they built an authentic covered bridge on the property and there is a lovely gazebo to sit and just surround yourself in this sea of lavender! Stay tuned as they are planning to open a bed and breakfast!
Want to take some home? No problem, they sell lavender plants and a variety of lavender based products in their on-site shop, including sachets, soaps, scrubs, linen sprays, oils and lavender lemonade to name a few.
The New York Botanical Garden was founded in 1891 and is a National Historic Landmark world renown for its plant research and conservation programs.
Georgia O’Keeffe was an American artist known mostly for her paintings of oversized flowers from New Mexico and Hawaii. She achieved worldwide acclaim for her innovative impressionist images. She is widely considered the “Mother of American Modernism”. Known for her paintings of Oriental Poppies, Cow’s Skull, Heliconia to name a few.
Start your visit in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory:
The Visions of Hawai’iexhibit reflects her depiction of the Islands of Hawaii while on commission for the Dole Pineapple Company in 1939 for their promotional campaign. Her works are a study in understanding the natural environment of the islands.
The exhibit highlights the flora of Hawaii both inside the Conservatory and outside in the Garden showcasing the flowers and fruit of Hawaii like pineapple, papaya and bananas. There are more than 300 varieties of plants including ti plants, frangipani, bougainvillea, heliconia, hibiscus, bird-of-paradise, ginger and other tropicals.
In the Conservatory courtyard pool you will find aquatic plants like Water lilies and Lotuses. The Lotus is a sacred plant symbolizing eternal life in Buddhism. Chose your color! You will see the lilies and lotus in yellow, pink, purple, and blue. Pineapple plants surround the pool.
There is also an incredible collection of 17 paintings in the Mertz Library Gallery not seen together since 1940 highlighting the influence of Hawaii’s dramatic landscapes and exotic plants. The exhibit includes Heliconia, Crab’s Claw Ginger, Pineapple Bud, and Hibiscus with Plumeria to name a few. There is a short film featuring letters to her famous husband who was a photographer, Alfred Stieglitz. NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED! These are photos of her paintings only.
Pineapple Bud 1939
White Bird of Paradise 1939
Heliconia, Crab’s Claw Ginger 1939
White Lotus 1939
Native Plant Garden highlights plants native to the Northeast including trees, shrubs, wildflowers, ferns and grasses. The pool is fed by recycled stormwater as it flows over stone weirs.
Rosen Seasonal Walk showcases perennials, grasses and bulbs highlighting their shape, structure and color throughout the season as emphasized by Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf.
Jane Watson Irwin Perennial Garden was just exploding with color and textures. The path winds through four themed garden rooms each with its own distinct personality. Here you will find daylilies, hydrangeas, black-eyed susans, nepeta, yarrow, begonias, caladiums, chives, salvia, crocosmia and amsonia to name just a few. Each garden room is devoted to a color scheme: The Fall Room: plants at their peak in autumn; the Bog Room: plants that love the moist and wet soil; the Hot Room: here bright flowers and foliage dominate like red, yellow and orange; and then the Cool Room: flowers and foliage in the silver, pink, blue and purple families.
This garden changes seasonally so if you can try to visit during every season as you will never see the same exact landscape twice! I guarantee it!!!
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.”
“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.”
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
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.
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.
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.
Thankfully the weather held out for the Sunday Garden tours this year unlike Saturday’s Garden and Rare Plant Sale at Lion Rock Farm. Wethersfield Garden in Amenia, NY is a beautifully manicured ten acre garden surrounding the home of the late Chauncey D. Stillman. The gardens were created in a classical style similar to the Italian villas found in the 17th century.
In every direction the Garden takes full advantage of the views and creates rooms and spaces with statues, steps, water features and plant materials. It was created on a north-south and east-west axis by Landscape Architect Bryan J. Lynch and then Evelyn N. Poehler.
The Garden relies on the architecture of varying shades and textures of plant material that marry themselves into the natural landscape starting immediately upon arrival in the East Garden. Besides the sculpted yews there are Korean dogwoods, azaleas, lilacs, rhododendrons and magnolias. The four corners of this garden feature the most magnificent European Weeping Beech trees trimmed into cylindrical shape. Sorry the Garden geek in me was drooling!
The north wall in the East Garden features the Cupid Fountain surrounded by a fieldstone retaining wall that supports Sedum, Campanula and Ivy.
When you look to the south through the Arborvitae Arch which is flanked by two figurines playing pipes the views of the countryside unfold. These statues are called the “Pan Pipers”. This area features Witch Hazel, Hawthorne, Elderberry and Gray Dogwood.
The reflecting pool has a black interior that allows the surrounding shrubs to reflect onto the water’s surface. The surrounding yews are shaped into globes and cones.
The Inner Garden was originally designed when the house was built.
In the Knot Garden the flower tubs on either sides of the steps supposedly were designed by the architect Stanford White so they plant them with white petunias in his honor.
The Pine Terrace so named for the White Pine in the center of the stone terrace. A goldfish pond with its frogs and Iris and Agapanthas and Clivia that attract hummingbirds.
The Allee is flanked with Cupid urns that encourage “silence” in the garden. This area features a 12′ wide lawn and a bronze statute “Naiad” by a Swedish sculptor Carl Milles.
The Trade Secrets Garden tours are always a wonderful opportunity to tour private gardens that we can get ideas from for our own gardens even if only in our dreams.
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.
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:
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.
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
With Trade Secrets being this weekend in CT I thought you might be interested in this blog I wrote several years ago on the Saturday event which is always a widely anticipated event by plant geeks everywhere. People come from far and wide to attend, booking their hotel rooms a year in advance! Many of the vendors come every year so although this blog is from several years ago the information is very relevant to this weekends show in Sharon!
Trade Secrets is a two-day event which started 18 years ago in Bunny Williams backyard. This event is the foremost fundraiser for Women’s Support Services which offers crisis intervention, counseling and education, as well as legal, medical, and housing assistance to fulfill its mission of creating a community free of domestic violence. Women’s Support Services is a nonprofit organization that provides free and confidential aid to victims of domestic violence and abuse. WSS provides a 24 hour hotline, (860) 364.1900 short-term emergency shelter, counseling, legal advocacy, education and emergency support for those in need.
The proceeds from Trade Secrets 2018 will help WSS fund programs that teach children about healthy relationships and conflict resolution and will help fund operation of their 24-hour hotline. If you missed it this year mark your calendar for next year like Martha Stewart.
“Sadly 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence in their lives” (National Violence Against Women Survey, 2000)
The mission of WSS is to create a community free of domestic violence and abuse through intervention, prevention and education.
Trade Secrets is the premiere Rare Plant & Garden Antique Sale of the season on Saturday with Private Garden tours on Sunday! Today I will take you on a tour of the Rare Plant & Garden Antique Sale.
The plant and antique sale is held yearly at Lion Rock Farm in Sharon, CT. This is a stunning property overlooking Amenia, NY located in one of the most scenic areas in northwest CT. There were antiques of every variety, rare plants that you can only find here as well as perennials, vegetables and annuals for sale. There are trees and shrubs, containers and planters, statuary and towers, peonies, roses, and lavender. You name it and I am sure you can find it here.
Roses are perhaps my favorite flower! There are so many varieties, some with glorious fragrances, others with prickly thorns that always seem to get me through my garden gloves. Roses are quite versatile in the garden as they can be used in mixed borders, as a hedge, in a Rose only border as climbers or container plants and of course they make wonderful cut flowers. Planting in groups of three or more makes a big impact if that is what you are after. What is your favorite way to use Roses?
My favorite roses are David Austin English Roses www.davidaustinroses.com but there are many other types of Roses. Knock-Out Roses are very useful in the landscape as well. Roses are very adaptable plants and look great in a mixed border which is my preference. They continue to flower when many other plants are finished blooming providing color right through the end of the growing season here in CT.
One of my favorites is ‘Heritage’ which has a medium sized cup shaped bloom. It is a soft, clear pink at its center and the the outer petals are almost white. Thankfully for me it has very few thorns and is a nicely shaped shrub. The fragrance makes it one of my favorite for cut flower arrangements.
I have finally gotten ‘Munstead Wood’ and Old Rose Hybrid that I have coveted for years. It is a very deep velvety crimson. Hopefully this will take hold and become a lovely bushy shrub. They supposedly have good disease resistance so that is always a plus when it comes to Roses. The new leaves are a lovely reddish bronze and it has a very strong Old Rose fragrance that is a little on the fruity side. I am very excited for this to really take off.
Another new Rose for me is ‘Princess Anne’. This rose is a deep pink and blooms for a long period. An added benefit for sure! The blooms are in large clusters and this Rose has a medium Tea Rose fragrance. This too should become a lovely compact, bushy, upright shrub.
I couldn’t talk about Roses without showing you one of my all time stars – ‘Winchester Cathedral’. I have a few of these and have moved them with me from property to property since I can’t bear to leave them behind. This is an Old Rose Hybrid with a lovely fragrance of honey and almond and is a pure white Rose with just a touch of pink at the center. There are masses of flowers on this shrub and it blooms at different intervals during the season. It would be a superb selection for anywhere in your garden whether in mixed borders, hedges or flower beds. I can’t get enough of this Rose!
Another of my favorites is David Austin ‘Graham Thomas’ but it did not bloom this past year as I have transplanted it now so many times. This year I hope to see that lovely pure yellow bloom once more. This is one of the best known of the English Roses and is usually very vigorous and fragrant.
There are other varieties of Roses as I mentioned earlier, Climbing Roses, Knock-Out Roses, Shrub Roses. Here are some more photos to entice you into planting at least one rose bush this year whatever type suits your fancy!
Pink Knock Out Roses
Villa Cimbrone, Ravello, IT Rose
More from the home of Linda Allard. Sorry I don’t know the varieties.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a Rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
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.
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.
Merge your art into your planting beds. Your plants should be the frosting on the cake!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Hydrangeas can add drama to the garden whether pink, white, green or red. They make great cut flowers! Early spring is a perfect time to plant Hydrangeas because the ground is still cool so they are less likely to get stressed.
Hydrangeas are basically low maintenance shrubs and highlight the summer and fall gardens. Just prune occasionally for shape and they will serve you well. The key with Hydrangeas is to site them properly to start with so they have the appropriate room to grow and don’t need pruning. You should however remove spent flowers and dead wood. They prefer sun and some shade. If you do need to prune it should be done after the years’ bloom cycle has ended to ensure blossoms for next year for some that is late summer or even late winter.
I’ll try to explain some of the many varieties of Hydrangeas:
Hydrangea Paniculata – Blooms on new wood and has large coned shaped flowers and are very cold hardy.
‘Quick Fire’ – turns a lovely rosey-pink in fall and blooms up to a month earlier than other Hydrangeas; ‘Bobo’ – compact with lime green and violet blooms; ‘Pinky Winky’ – has large white panicles that turn turns pink at the base during the fall creating a two-toned effect; ‘Pink Diamond’ – white blooms fade to pink and ‘Limelight’– huge, bright lime green panicles that changes to deep pink, red and burgundy in fall.
Hydrangea Quercifolia – Oakleaf Hydrangeas – These have a lovely, peeling bark on older stems and a felt like bark on newer stems. They start out white and turn pink as the season progresses and have amazing burgundy red leaves in fall. Shown below is ‘Alice’ which I use in my garden in a group of 3. Give it lots of room to spread out! The inflorescences are about 10-14″ long. Others to consider: ‘Snowflake’; ‘Ruby Slippers’ and ‘Gatsby Moon’
Hydrangea macrophylla- “Bigleaf Hydrangeas” – these have large round mophead flowers particularly in June, July and August. They have beautiful dark green leaves and can provide some but not great fall color. Also in this category are the Lacecaps.
Flower color can be determined often by the acidity (blue-purple) or alkalinity (pink or red) of your soil. Some of these bloom on new growth as well as last year’s stems. So prune right after flowering to be safe if in doubt which you have. Deadheading spent blossoms unless you are going to dry them will help produce more blossoms.
‘Endless Summer – Bloomstruck’; ‘Nikko Blue’; ‘ColorFantasy’; and ‘Vanilla Strawberry’
Hydrangea arborescens or ‘Smooth Hydrangeas’ – which bloom May – June on new wood so they are good for colder climates although there is little fall leaf color. Most notably ‘Annabelle’ is one of the most hardy with large inflorescenses. Also ‘Incrediball’ is another variety
Yet another popular Hydrangea anomala petiolaris: the Climbing Hydrangea: This Hydrangea has lovely white lacecap blossoms and a thick vine that also produces horizontal branches and nice thick green leaves and clings to any structure. The bark is also distinctive with its cinnamon colored bark that exfoliates and is lovely in winter.
A good source for Hydrangeas is White Flower Farm since they also ship if you are not in the CT area. www.whiteflowerfarm.com