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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A Day in the Country- Trade Secrets

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.

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Lion Rock Farm
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Plant towers

Plants in every shape and color to buy

 

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Lion Rock Farm
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Pool at Lion Rock
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Lion Rock
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Pots from Campo de’ Fiori, Sheffield, MA
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Topiaries in all shapes and sizes

 

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Ready for take off

 

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Every garden needs one of these

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Need backyard furniture?

 

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Splish, splash!

 

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I want this gate!

 

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Antiques

 

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Lilacs

Bye till next year!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take time to smell the ROSES!

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.

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Over The Moon

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.

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David Austin Heritage Rose

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.

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David Austin ‘Munstead Wood’

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.

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David Austin ‘Princess Anne’

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!

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David Austin ‘Winchester Cathedral’
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David Austin ‘Winchester Cathedral’

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.

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David Austin Graham Thomas

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!

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Pink Knock Out Roses

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Noble Anthony Rose

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Villa Cimbrone, Ravello, IT Rose

More from the home of Linda Allard. Sorry I don’t know the varieties.

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“What’s in a name? That which we call a Rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

William Shakespeare

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 – Coltsfoot Garden

One of the private gardens open this year for Trade Secrets was Coltsfoot Garden in Cornwall, CT.  This is an enchanting cottage garden that along with the colonial home has been in this family for almost 100 years.  Upon arrival you are immediately dawn in by the multi-colored lilac trees surrounding the garden, the crabapple trees and the surrounding landscape.  This is Litchfield county CT at its finest.

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The garden while formal in structure is welcoming and plants are encouraged to self sow wherever they can find a spot.

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There is a newly added second vegetable garden placed closer to the house, surrounded by a picket fence, gravel paths and artful colorscaping of vegetables like asparagus, lettuces, peas, beans, tomatoes, peppers and rhubarbs. Plants are staked using branches and twigs in artful and rustic ways.

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There are perennial gardens framing a neighbor’s old barn featuring boxwood, peonies, crabapple trees, dwarf Alberta Spruce, roses, irises, bachelor buttons, spurge,  and daylilies which create a delightfully soft, uncluttered effect.

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Gravel paths are created in a geometric pattern to facilitate your winding your way throughout with their edges being blurred by lady’s mantle, nepeta (my favorite plant) and others.

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This is another garden area with an ingenious method of taming climbing vines. This garden features, raspberries, vegetables, peonies for cut flowers.  I suggest if you love to have cut flowers in your home and hate the idea of cutting in your ornamental beds that you plant a separate area for cutting flowers both perennial and annuals for all season flowers.  Don’t forget to use your greens like hostas, astible,  solomon’s seal, grasses and branches etc. to fill in.

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This couple lovingly maintains the property coaxing dahlias, hydrangeas, lilacs and roses to thrive year after year.  The formal yet informal design of the garden allows for times of not too much fuss!

Thank you to the Hubbard’s for opening their garden to us for Trade Secrets Open Garden Tours 2017. Can’t wait for 2018!

I have written many times over the years about the Trade Secrets event which takes place in mid-May each year.  You can read more about this fabulous event in previous blogs.

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Trade Secrets GardenTours

Trade Secrets Garden Tours part 2

 

 

 

 

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.

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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

 

 

Did you miss last weekend’s Open Garden Days?

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Well the weather wasn’t the best but the gardens on The Garden Conservancy Open Days are as inspiring as their owners.  I had the pleasure to visit the garden of HIGHMEADOWS for the second time; the home of Linda Allard in Washington, CT. HIGHMEADOWS sits high on a hillside overlooking the Litchfield Hills of CT.

Her garden is the essence of Old-World charm and is nearly as charming as she is!

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Stone walls are covered with climbing roses, hydrangeas and espaliered fruit trees.

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The centerpiece of this garden is undoubtedly the rose arbor filled with roses, old and new and clematis.

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The beauty of this garden lies in all the differing green textures found within the formed Boxwood hedges in the formal white garden.

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The studio

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Allee towards the orchard

 

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There are beds overflowing with herbs, vegetables and flowers. The apple orchard beckons you out the gates to explore further.

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Vegetable and herb garden
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Apple Orchard

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And finally the place where the family can gather, celebrate and create wonderful memories. The back yard, the pool house, come sit in the Adirondacks and simply enjoy and relax.

 

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Don’t miss the next Open Garden Days in CT.  Come explore the beautiful gardens in our area and get inspiration for your own garden and talk to some amazing gardeners.  Thank you Linda Allard for opening your home to us!   https://www.gardenconservancy.org

 

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