Garden Conservancy Open Days – Cobble Pond Farm

The history of this garden goes back 250 years!  Originally an Olmsted design it was carefully restored and updated by Kathy Metz, the homeowner, with some inspired help from others. With its formal and informal gardens it is gracefully accented by stone walls, unusual species of trees and a sunken garden surrounded by clipped yews.  It is surrounded by the magnificent Sharon, CT countryside where Angus herds graze in the afternoon sun.

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The pool was added to resemble a reflecting pool accented by stone walls and a pool house and a giant Copper Beech
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Open pastures surround the property in Sharon, CT

The trees are worthy of envy by any gardener who is just starting a landscaping project. They include maples, columnar maples reaching for the sky, birches, Ginkgo and dogwoods.  The property owners have lovingly enhanced this property staying true to its original design while updating it so it works for them.  Gone are the annuals that were so popular back when the garden was originally conceived and they are replaced by low maintenance perennials and native shrubs.  Each area of the garden relates to another making for a relaxing experience while meandering around.  Of course, taking care of it all I am sure is a joy but a full time project.  A Labor of Love as most all gardeners will tell you, me included!

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Arbor and Peonies

The landscape is dotted with bulbs, tulips, lilacs with their fragrances enticing you to come closer.  There are pergolas, arbors, cutting gardens, a summerhouse garden and a sunken garden surrounded by clipped yews and is anchored with a central fountain. a brilliant tip for keeping yews healthy was to angle the hedge edges thus allowing light in on all sides.  This should be applied to most all hedges so they don’t die out at the bottom.  This was a particularly difficult winter here in CT and it is apparent the yews suffered greatly as did many of our boxwoods.

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Sunken Garden with central fountain and yew hedges

I love the Japanese Maples growing in containers.  A great tip if you can’t get them to grow in the ground is to grow them in a container. In winter, in colder climates they can be moved to a garage or basement.

Japanese Maples
Japanese Maples in containers
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Pool House

Peonies are about to explode everywhere both flanking the gated entrance to the sunken garden and around the pool and cabana. I wish I could go back to see them in a few weeks when they bloom.

The original rustic gazebo just beckons you to sit and take it all in. There is a clever use of statutes in this garden.  Garden ornaments can make a garden feel loved and personal while adding personality and letting you see the homeowner’s whimsy.

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Boy statue

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Winding paths lead you around the gardens and the house showcasing Irises, Clematis, Roses, Solomon’s Seal, Hostas, Tulips, and Alliums just to name a few.

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Barney the Basset hound was standing guard, or maybe just waiting for someone to pay more attention to him than the gardens.  Sorry, Barney!

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If you are a gardener The Garden Conservancy has Open Days all over the United States and these private and public gardens are indeed an inspiration to all gardeners.  They showcase places to see how others have handled particularly challenging landscapes or just how to decorate a porch, maybe to highlight a plant combination you have been dying to try yourself.  Experiment! What is the worst that could happen?  If it doesn’t work out, move it or remove it! Gardening should be fun, not stressful!  Be sure to check one out this summer!

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

 

 

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