Today was a perfect day for a garden club tour; a bit of rain and clouds to discourage the casual observers but not enough wind to damage the white begonias, cool enough to walk energetically in a heavy skirt and sensible shoes, misty enough so that I didn’t regret forgetting my hat. This particular garden had not previously been open to the public. The cutting and kitchen gardens are visible through the wrought iron fence from the street, but it was wonderful to get up close and personal with the sunken Italianate formal garden, the mossy pergola that faces the cove, and some really lurid roses that were nevertheless enjoyable under the low, gray clouds. Oh, and the shingle style dog house with slate roof, dutch doors and window boxes was just the right touch of surreal.
My pen dropped out of my pocket somewhere along the 1/2 mile entrance road, and my batteries ran out before the kitchen garden, but here are what notes and images I managed to take away:
Artichokes – beautiful plants and evidently productive here. The head gardener went on at length about daylight and temperatures requirements for full maturity, but honestly I wouldn’t care if I didn’t get a whole lot of fruit – the plants were striking in themselves. Of course, he doesn’t have that luxury.
Cold frames extraordinaire: I went over to look at some cold frames – 15′ x 2′ high on the short end, rising to 4′ and faced with glass panels. When I looked in to the frames, I realized that they had been excavated to a depth of 10′. There were ladders built into the walls at either end for access. With that much berming they must be very cozy even in early spring, and if I thought I could dig a hole 12′ deep on my lot I’d try it out.
Smoke bush in bloom with Madonna lilies rising through the mist of blossoms – quite a striking effect.
Datura was everywhere, and lent an exotic air to the otherwise common assortment of border flowers: ligularia, phlox, mulliens, begonias and thalictrum.