IN EARLY JUNE, when the weather is clear, the roses are out (that’s fragrant ‘Zephirine Drouhin,’ above), and the lupines are in bloom, I can’t help but spend a few hours outdoors each day. Would you like to see what I see when I tour the gardens here? Take a walk with me:
To sweeten our time together, I’ve made yet another batch of blueberry-topped sugar cookie tartlets.
I know you appreciate my superb hosting-skills.
Here we are, standing at the garden gate, with a view of the Rose Garden. Not once have I walked the brick paths here without remembering that this 100 feet long, 50 feet wide oasis was formerly a parking lot. As you can see, the boxwood has been neatly trimmed. What you can’t see is that the basin of each fountain has been cleaned. The basins were choked with tree debris, thanks a series of recent storms.
And by the way, you don’t have to spend a fortune for a water feature. I didn’t. The fountains pictured above (there are two) were obtained for a modest price from a shop in New Mexico. Even the shipping cost was low, because the fountains are made of aluminum, not heavy cast-iron.
Remember that clematis likes to have its feet in the shade, and its head in the sun. For shade, a thick mulch will do. My rose (and clematis) beds are mulched with three inches of shredded leaves.
Earlier, I mentioned ‘Zephirine Drouhin.’ A better climber doesn’t exist. The flowers are deep pink, and strongly perfumed. You can swim in the scent. And get this — the canes are thornless! Zephirine’s exuberant growth helps to hide the ugly shed that stands at the northwest corner of the rose garden.
To the left of the staircase is a ruby-leaved, ‘Forest Pansy’ redbud. I showed you this Cercis canadensis last month, when it was in dressed in purple flowers.
Looking west, from the top of the hill. I carved an opening in a grove of white pines to permit a view of my headless Venus de Milo. How Venus lost her head.
Are your hot weather crops (tomatoes, zucchini, etc.) creeping along at a snail’s pace? Welcome to the club. I attribute the slowness to our wacky weather. Wacky weather which is, in fact, our new “normal” weather.
Smothering the arbor at the rear of the Kitchen Garden are hardy kiwi vines. Last month, I told you that I had planted a male and female plant as directed, to insure fruit. And that the plants must have been mislabeled, because in six years I’d seen nary a flower, let alone a kiwi. But do you see what I see in the picture above? Yes — blossoms! Looks like I’ll be swimming in grape-sized kiwis this summer.
I’ll give you a more thorough tour of the Kitchen Garden if and when it really takes off.
I’m nothing if not optimistic.
What’s that you say?
Yes, you may have more wine.
You might as well finish off the tartlets, too. Remember, we’re burning calories on this tour!
The woodland plants definitely benefited from the 9.25 inches of rain that fell during the final weeks of May. On the left side of the path, just beyond the rose arbor, is Hosta ‘Blue Angel.’ Deer do not like this variety. Not my deer, anyway.
If I can make a fish pond, so can you. Just dig a hole, line it with rubber roofing material, fill it with water, insert a pump, and you’re done.
Okay, that sounds like a lot of work. But honestly, it’s not.
The window garden in question. How I designed this horticultural portrait.
Let’s exit the Woodland for now, and head back to the house via the Serpentine Garden.
Well. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour which came complete with drinks and dessert. I know I certainly did.
Now, I’d like to hear about your own garden. Are your plants blooming on cue? Or are they a few weeks behind because of persistent cold (or just plain wacky) weather?
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