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

 

 

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 🙂

 

Elizabeth Park, Hartford CT

Born of the American Park Movement, Elizabeth Park was officially opened to the public in 1897. Encompassing 101 acres, both West Hartford and Hartford share this treasure that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The property originally owned by Charles and Elizabeth Aldrich Pond was gifted to the City of Hartford upon Charles Pond’s death.  He requested that the park be named after his late wife Elizabeth.  So romantic!

This park reflects both the European formal style of gardens and the natural setting with sweeping views and trees around the periphery  associated with its Landscape Architect, Frederick Law Olmsted.

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The rose garden is the centerpiece of this treasured garden designed in 1904 by Theordore Wirth and it is the country’s oldest public rose garden.

It is home to over 15,000 rose bushes and arches on two and a half acres with 475 garden beds.

 

 

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Rose Arbors

 

 

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Rose Hips

Opposite the rose garden there are four gardens connected via pathways and entrances creating various garden rooms including a Perennial garden, a shade-rock garden, heritage rose and tulip – annual garden.

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Passion Flower
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Annual Borders
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Celosia

 

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Celosia on Fire
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Busy, busy bees

 

There is an herb garden, an iris garden and currently on display the dahlia display beds which are currently in full bloom!   Dahlias come in every conceivable shape, color and size so here is just a small sampling!

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The ponds, Laurel Pond and Lily Pond are divided by a stone bridge

There is a gorgeous view of the Hartford skyline from the Sunrise Overlook. This park is a true urban oasis showcasing its many assets for its visitors. It connects communities and encourages a healthy life offering historical, educational, recreational, cultural, social and economic assets to all who visit.

 

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I truly plan to visit during next year’s Rose weekend as well as during Tulip season!  You should make it a point to visit the next time you are in the Hartford area.  This is a treasure not to be missed!

Fascinating Facts about Cruising the Thimble Islands

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale
a tale of a fateful trip,
that started from this tropic port,
aboard this tiny ship.

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Standing watch or just enjoying the sunshine

Okay not really but for those of you who remember Gilligan’s Island that is what I pretended this adventure was!  These islands were first discovered in 1614 by Adrien Block for whom Block Island is named. Fun to dream and pretend although I don’t imagine life was very easy back then. With our capable captain on board we were ready to sail!

 

 

 

 

Originally called “The Hundred Islands” in the 1700’s The Thimble Islands is an archipelago consisting of small islands made up of Stony Creek pink granite bedrock in Long Island Sound located in and around the harbor of Stony Creek, CT in the the southeast corner of Branford, CT.  Today there are only 32 inhabited islands.  The name The Thimble islands came from the native thimbleberries, or more commonly black raspberries, once plentiful on the islands.

There are many stories about Captain Kidd having buried treasure on the islands in the local folklore and this of course fueled treasure hunters to seek out The Thimble Islands and the infamous “Money Island” which is the second largest island at 12 acres and has an entire village of 32 houses and a library.

Governor Island consists of 10 acres and has 14 houses while Bear Island is home to a granite quarry.

Eventually the islands became a resort spot, attracting families and city dwellers.

Eventually the islands became more privatized as summer residents established homes there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay so who needs running water and electricity?

That’s what I call solar power!

 Horse Island, the largest island at 17 acres is an ecological research station run by Yale University and consists mostly of poison ivy. Oh gosh!

Our journey on the Sea Mist, whose been touring visitors around the islands since the 70’s started with laughs and stories of times gone by! Sadly, the islands suffered quite a lot of damage in the Hurricane of 1938.

 

 

There are many islands with cute names and some just plain silly like “Cut-in-Two Island,

Jepson Island, Pot Island,

Cut-in-Two Island now connected by a bridge

Outer Island, Davis Island, Hen Island, Potato Island, High Island, Rogers Island, Mother-in-Law Island and High Island. Too many to remember frankly!

Supposedly Mother-in-Law island got its name after a nosy mother invaded the privacy of her newlywed daughter and son-in-law. In retaliation, the couple took both boats and left the mother on the island by herself with no way to get home.

 

Outer Island is an ecological preserve and refuge for migratory birds and is part of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuse. Guided tours and field studies are available and the island is owned by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Outer Island

Enjoy your tour!

 

Well I hope you have enjoyed your tour.  The next time you are in the Branford, CT area make sure to take a trip on one of the touring vessels ready and waiting to regale you with stories and drinks celebrating a bygone era!

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