Day tripping in CT at Lavender Pond Farm

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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.

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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.

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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.

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To help with the necessary pollination they have honey bees which play an important role.

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Honey bees hard at work!

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.

 

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

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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.

Churches of Verona

Duomo Di Verona is the city’s cathedral and can easily be reached from the Ponte Pietra. It was constructed on the remains of two earlier churches that were destroyed in the earthquake of 1117. An absolutely beautiful church in the historic medieval center. The Basilica has striped brick and stone walls not unlike other churches I have seen throughout Italy.

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Verona’s Cathedral

Basilica di Santa Anastasia is the most important religious monument in the Gothic style in Verona. Funded by the Scaligeri family it was built around 1290.

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Basilica di Santa Anastasia
Verona’s majestic Basilica Di San Zeno dates from the 12th century in Piazza San Zeno. The Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore is a striking landmark especially when viewed from the across the river. This Romanesque church’s bronze doors have 48 carved panel Bible Scenes and beautiful frescoes inside from the 12th – 15th centuries.
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Basilica di San Zeno from Ponte Scaligero
Chiesa dei Santi Apostoli, is an ancient Roman Catholic church built in the early 12th century on a pre-exiting Roman cemetery. Located right near the Porta dei Borsari mentioned in the previous blog on the Corso Cavour. A striking Veronese Romanesque bell tower stands apart from the church.
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Chiesa dei Santi Apostoli

 

Did you miss the last 2 blogs on Verona? Romeo, Romeo and Verona’s Bridges? Link to them to read more about this lovely city.

Also travel to Asiago near the Swiss Alps.  Looking for more Italy?  There are blogs on many different areas.  Here are links: Amalfi Coast; Puglia, including Lecce, Matera, Alberobello, Borgo Egnazia; Florence; Venice (stay tuned for some new Venice ones also); Tuscany including: Siena, San Gimignano, Montepulciano, Lucca, Pienza, Pisa, Arezzo. Montalcino, Montefioralle, Greve and Montechiello.  Whew!  That’s a lot of trips to Italy in the last few years!

Can’t wait to return!!!!

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

 

 

 

 

Pompeii- a step back in time!

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The ancient city of Pompeii is located in the southern region of Italy called Campania near the coast of Naples and was an important port town.  This once great Roman city was buried under tons of ash and pumice when in 79 A.D. Mount Vesuvius erupted. This thriving city of 20,000 people that was built up with private and public establishments under both Emperors Augustus and Tiberius was destroyed.

After the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii was rediscovered and is still undergoing extensive restoration and excavation.  There is an extraordinary collection of architecture, sculpture, paintings and mosaics.  The major artifacts were moved to Naples by the Emperor many, many years ago.

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Mount Vesuvius

We entered through the Marina Gate in Region VII (there are 9 Regions under excavation at Pompeii) where you are immediately greeted by the Suburban Baths.  These were private baths some with erotic paintings; others with extravagant decorations.

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Agostino- our fabulous guide in Capri and Pompeii

Our private guide, Agostino, regaled us with all sorts of racy stories!   Excavated in 1960; 1985-1988

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Marina Gate and Suburban Baths

The Marina Gate & Walls provide access to the west side of this city and is the most impressive of the 7 gates of Pompeii. It seems the name came from the fact that the route out led to the sea.  The gate has 2 barrel vault portals made of concrete and dates back to 80 B.C. The 2 portals provided entry for both horses and other pack animals and the smaller was for people. Excavated 1862-1863

Another highlight was the Temple of Genius Augusti (Vespasian) which was built at the request of the Priestess.  It consisted of a small courtyard, marble altar which depicts a bull being led to sacrifice and a small temple with 4 columns and exquisite marble decoration. Excavated in 1817

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The Bakery of Popidio Prisco: The mill and the bakery were adjacent to each other as they were part of the same production process. There are 5 large lava millstones that were used to grind the wheat. Bread was baked in a variety of shapes in the large central oven and sold to residents or to wholesalers. Excavation 20’s of the 19th century.

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The bakery of Popidio Prisco

 

The Sauna Room and public baths were a significant social scene where Romans would relax and be pampered after leaving the gymnasium. There was both a hot and cold bath here. Water was abundant in this city.

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The sauna room

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The Streets of Pompeii were established on a grid plan The streets have grooves for the horse carts. Since the streets often flooded there are footsteps that allow pedestrians to cross the road without getting their feet wet.

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Interior of home of a wealthy merchant with colorful frescoes and ornate decorations

 

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The Forum: this was a public space originally at the center of Pompeii’s commercial, religious and political life and is surrounded by many of the most significant buildings of the city. The Basilica was a public building where business and legal matters were conducted. It was at one end of the Forum.

 

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The Building of Eumanchia has an ornate carved marble frieze. Note the “key” which supports the gate without a central support. Eumanchia was a local priestess and a successful business woman to boot! Women rock!

 

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The ruins of Pompeii:

 

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This exploration of a time gone by is well worth the visit.  It is immense and you can easily fall into the trap of everything looking the same.  Take my advice and hire a private guide or you will miss the highlights here as following the map will have you wandering endlessly in circles! A word of warning: wear comfortable shoes!!! The streets are very uneven and you can easily lose your footing.

Now onto the Puglia Region.  Here is a link to Alberobello our next adventure.  Stay tuned for Matera, Lecce and the gorgeous Borgo Egnazia

 

Trade Secrets 2016

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Another amazing Trade Secrets event!  This year’s Trade Secrets was held on May 14th and 15th. After 16 years it has grown exponentially to become the garden event of the season! Created by Bunny Williams as a major fundraiser for Women’s Support Services which offers crisis intervention, counseling and education as well as other assistance to foster a community free of domestic violence this agency provides a broad range of services beyond just emergency services.  Their goal is create a community free of domestic violence and abuse through intervention, prevention and education.

Trade Secrets is an annual rare plant and garden antiques sale held on Saturday with tours of various private gardens on Sunday.  This year’s garden tours were sold out!  Luckily I always get my tickets well in advance. The support from the community with people traveling great distances to attend confirms that when we come together to fight a cause we have strength in numbers.

This year on Saturday I was so busy buying that I didn’t even get a chance to take pictures.  I actually had to make a trip home to unload a very packed car and go back to get the rest of my purchases.  Might I add that I live about an hour away!

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Antiques galore!
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Support towers and Peony rings from Old Farm Nursery – needless to say my garden is filled with these

 

The vendors on Saturday are diverse and very knowledgeable in their respective fields, be it antiques, orchids or trees. The handcrafted metalwork to support your clematis, peonies and perennials is truly one of my favorites.  This year I was on a mission since I have a new garden.  I went early and had a plan.  I zipped around like a “crazy lady” as my husband would say before the things I wanted were gone.  I got Japanese Maple trees, Lilacs, shrubs, perennials, peony rings, antique gates, pottery and hose guards.   We should have bought more of those!  Like I said 2 SUV’s full and I still had to make a third trip early Sunday morning to Old Farm Nursery to pick up the rest of my loot that wouldn’t fit in the previous 2 trips!

Did I mention I love this event!  Of course, my favorite day is always Sunday.  I love exploring new gardens that you only get into by invitation.  This year I went to both the garden of Judy and Patrick Murphy of Old Farm Nursery in Lakeville, CT a wonderful New England Farm showcasing a fruit tree allee, secret garden and swimming pool, a river garden and breathtaking views. Next stop for us was the historic Weatherstone estate.  This is the CT home of Carolyne Roehm.  Weatherstone is a vast property with horse barns, boxwood topiaries, a pool, tennis courts, a fruit orchard and an unbelievable peony border that surrounds a cutting garden and potager. I have been many times to the spectacular property of Bunny Williams and John Roselli and also to Michael Trapp’s in West Cornwall so we skipped those this time. Words are not necessary to describe any of these properties but WOW sums it up nicely!

Come tour with me these lovely gardens!  thank you to both the Murphy’s and Carolyne Roehm for opening your homes!

 

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Old Farm- wouldn’t you love to have this much room for veggies!

 

It is hard to describe Weatherstone. It didn’t disappoint!  Carolyne is a meticulous designer and plans every detail of her gardens.

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Planting plans
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View back from the horse barns

 

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Weatherstone
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A guest house
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Wouldn’t you just love to sit here!
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Side gardens with tulips and roses
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Back patio with Hydrangea standards
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Blue and white her favorite!

And lastly, no tour of this property would be complete without at least a few pictures of flowers since Carolyne is known for those gorgeous bouquets!

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White tulips

Bye till next year! Save the dates- May 20 & 21, 2017.  A big thank you also to all the volunteers who make this event possible and to Lion Rock Farm for opening their property to all of us on Saturday.

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