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

Anatomy of a new Garden

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Back yard complete

Some artists express themselves with paint, some with sculpture, yarn, wood etc.  I paint with light, color, flowers and capture that with my photography!

I recently moved to a new home and with that move I transplanted tons of plants from my previous houses  and have added new plants to create something special.  When I started in mid-May this year there was nothing on my new property except a lot of water and clover and a few builder installed obligatory plants.  First thing I did was remove the unwanted plants and install them on another property.  With the help of a friend I got a bird’s eye view of my property and began the design of a totally new garden that would be complete in 4 months!  I had plants and shrubs that needed to be replanted immediately as they were being transplanted and beds had to be designed, dug out, turned over, compost and sand added all over the property.

I came up with a layout and started drawing it out on the property so my contractor could dig the beds for me. My goal was to encourage all types of pollinators, birds, bees, (especially Honeybees) butterflies (especially Monarchs) and wildlife.  Four season color and interest were keys to my design. Winter structure was of primary importance as winter in New England lasts for many months. As all plans go, best laid plans changed a little.  We had to move things around a little to accommodate the septic system, clay soil  and water run off.

 

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Initial plans

 

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Grass marked and ready for digging

 

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Front yard starting point- tulips were mine and so was the fountain
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Beds being dug out and amended, plants patiently waiting for transplanting

New large full size trees were ordered and installed, new shrubs, perennials and bulbs added and finally annuals were added to liven it all up.

 

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The first of the large trees are installed

 

The finishing touches were just done this past weekend with the placement of several bird houses. Overall I can truly say I am very pleased with the results as are the birds. butterflies and bees!

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Back yard complete

 

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Grass is being aerated and reseeded this week. Next year the pathways will be bluestone- grass for now!

 

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New Hawthorn ‘Winter King’ Trees, Viburnum and Norway Spruce finally done
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Front pathway through the beds again waiting for BlueStone next year

 

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Clematis ‘Elsa Spath’ on Front Arbor leading to backyard with Climbing Roses and Autumn Clematis

Just waiting for my bulb orders to come in so I can get my Tulips, Alliums, Hyacinths, Camassia, Daffodils and Muscari in the ground.  Of course, it will soon be time to lift the Dahlia tubers and bring those in along with the Agapanthus and Calla Lillies.  I have started freezing my thyme, parsley and making pesto to savor all that yummy Basil all winter.

I have created my own canvas for photography.  I try to find the magic in each space whether on my own property or on a client’s.

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Enjoy the beauty of nature in all of our seasons!  Create items of interest for all 4 seasons. Leave your grasses and seed heads for the birds and you will be rewarded with beautiful sights when the snow lands atop them.

Think of your garden as an extension of your home.  Stage your garden rooms to get the best view!  Look at your garden from inside when you are creating it since that is where it will most often be viewed from.  Is it the kitchen window or your office or from the patio you most often look out onto the garden.  Consider this when adding elements to your garden and don’t forget a place to sit outside once in awhile to enjoy it all!

Remember gardening should be fun and stuff goes wrong for everyone! Still need help?  I have expanded my photography business to include Garden Consulting.  As an Interior Designer for many years and a photographer I then pursued a Certificate in Garden Design and Horticulture so I can help advise you.  Visit my website: www.lensidesigns.com

 

 

Come Fly with me to Ravello and Amalfi (Part 4 of 5)

Amalfi, a truly medieval city has the grandest cathedral anywhere in the Arab-Norman style. The Duomo di Sant’ Andrea with it’s striped facade in Saracen colors and the Chiostro del Paradiso is spectacular.

 

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In front of the harbor is the Piazza Flavio Gioia in honor of Gioia who is credited with inventing the maritime compass in 1302.

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Amalfi Harbor

Don’t miss the little town to the east of Amalfi called Atrani.  It is often said the town looks like an opera set.

 

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Atrani

And then you come to Ravello, high atop Monte Cereto and my personal favorite!  Unlike any place on earth!

 

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Ravello from Scala

 

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Ravello Piazza

 

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Ravello

You can’t come to Ravello without taking home some ceramics.  Or in my case twice shipping home huge containers!

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Perched 1,500 feet above the bluest bay in the world, the Bay of Salerno it provides the most breathtaking views on the Amalfi coast.

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Ravello is the home to two of the areas most famous medieval gardens, the Villa Rufulo and the Villa Cimbrone.  The crown jewel in Ravello is undoubtedly the Belvedere of Infinity in the Villa Cimbrone.

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Villa Cimbrone
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Belvedere of Infinity – Villa Cimbrone

This garden is the highest point in Ravello and the views are not to be missed.

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Here are some of the sights from the Villa Rufulo. They host an amazing Music Festival every summer.

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Truly one could go on and on about the Amalfi coast but it is safe to say it is one of the most beautiful places on earth.  For the entire Album please go to my Flickr album so you can enjoy all of the photos.  If you missed any of the previous parts in this series here is a link to Part One. Ciao and stay tuned for the final installment! I hope you will consider following my blog. Enjoy!  If you are ready to start planning your trip you can’t go wrong with Ashley Turney and L’Esperta.

 

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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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!

 

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