Naturally, our tour will begin in the kitchen, where a warm, comforting drink awaits.
At the center of the garden are two weeping ‘Red Jade’ crabapple trees, their branches lit with fruit. I recently clipped a few of the stems for an elegant house bouquet. The remaining fruit is reserved for wintering birds.
Surrounding the garden are upright yews — Taxus hicksii. They are ripening their red, jewel-like berries just now. As with the aforementioned crabapples, the yew berries will be consumed by birds. Unless the squirrels get them first (as they did last year).
And speaking of feet — I love your Pradas! Hopefully they won’t get scuffed up during our garden tour.
As we head west, you’ll notice some mighty arborvitaes to your right. We planted these eight years ago, and my! how they’ve grown. They help to screen the in-ground swimming pool which we will visit shortly.
The headless Venus. You can read about her collision with a lawn mower in this post.
To the statue’s right is a hedge of Thuja ‘Green Giant.’ If you need a quick privacy screen, by all means acquire this evergreen! It grows 3-5 feet per year, and the only care it requires is water during its first season. Thereafter, the shrub takes care of itself.
As we turn the corner past the Thuja hedge, we find ourselves in a clearing. To the left is the Kitchen Garden. To the right is the swimming pool. And in the background is a bunch of weedy trees that are just beginning to acquire some autumn color. Behind the weedy trees is the Woodland Garden, which we won’t be visiting today. But you can see it any time you’d like, just by reading this fascinating article.
Opening the gate to the Kitchen Garden, we are greeted by a forest of ‘Royal Purple’ zinnias. I planted this heirloom variety from seed last spring. Although I love the color, the plant definitely requires staking.
I’m thinking dwarf zinnias are in order for next year. Especially if I can find them in just one color. Most of the miniatures are sold as “mixed.” As for the veggies, there are two crops I’m especially proud of: First, the butternut squash you see pictured above…
When frost threatened last week, I harvested most — though not all — of the peppers, and turned them into this amazing condiment.
As we begin our descent, we are greeted by the following flowers: sunshine-yellow Coreopsis, above, which I acquired through last year’s winter-sowing efforts…
We are descending the path now, which leads, at the mid-way point, to a curved bench beneath a Yoshino cherry tree. On our left is a hedge of dwarf lilacs, underplanted with Phlox subulata. If you’d like to see this phlox in bloom, be sure to visit me in spring! Or, just have a look at this post.
And if you’d like a more detailed description of the Serpentine Garden, be sure to read this page-turner.
Meanwhile, let’s sit on the bench for a moment and finished our spiked “tea.”
The Witch Hazel has already produced its flower buds for next year’s show. These will open in late January or early February regardless of the temperature. The blossoms are spidery, yellow-orange, and heaven-scented.
If you don’t have Witch Hazel (Hamamelis vernalis) in your garden, my advice is to obtain at least one shrub. Right away! More pictures and details about this great, great plant.
And flowering quince ‘Crimson and Gold,’ which has produced oodles and oodles of edible fruit. Well, they are edible if you are willing to boil them a long time. I always leave them for the squirrels and other critters with whom I share this property.
Here is the base of the Serpentine Garden. As you can see, the Baltic ivy I planted on the first terrace has now puddled onto the gravel walk. I kinda like the effect, for it reminds of the window hangings in my entrance hall. The two pots on the first step contain some of the hardy bulbs that I forced for indoor bloom last winter. Now I’ll plant them outdoors…somewhere.
Well. I hope you enjoyed this little “get away,” no matter how brief. I certainly enjoyed your company. Fortunately your Pradas look just as gorgeous as when you arrived.
Perhaps, in the comments field below, you can tell me how your own garden is holding up now that autumn is officially here. As always, I love to hear from you.
Don’t miss anything at A Garden for the House…sign up for Kevin’s weekly email updates.