Last updated on May 16th, 2019
Here in New York’s Hudson River Valley, spring has officially sprung. Now the air is warming, the trees are leafing, and the gnats are flying into the mouths of everyone who happens to talk (or yawn) while walking. And speaking of walking…would you like to see what Avery and I see when we tour the gardens at Clover Hill? Join us.
Boxwood Garden. I recently thinned out branches from the 350 shrubs here in order to encourage lush interior growth (click here for details). In May, the shrubs will be sheared and shaped by a gifted boxwood barber.
Weeping Crabapple Trees. Flanking the brick steps in the boxwood garden is a pair of Malus ‘Red Jade.’ Earlier this week I removed from the trees any limbs that had “wept” onto the boxwood shrubs below. (Hat Tip to reader Kim for this tree-branch-pruning how-to.)
North Hill. Here and elsewhere, the ground is littered with leaves and twigs. The leaves will be mulched when the lawn-mowing crew arrives in May. Broken branches from ancient maples and oaks invite a rousing game of “Pick-Up-Stix” every time I step outside.
Arborvitae Row. Happily, the North Hill’s hedge of tall, fat arborvitae came through winter just fine. Birds are currently nesting in the secure shelter these evergreens afford.
Kitchen Garden. Taking a right turn at the end Arborvitae Row, we bump into the Kitchen Garden. I cleaned the garden’s wood chip paths and its 12 raised beds a couple of weeks ago. The beds are now ready for planting. Alas, I don’t feel like planting anything just yet. I’m still recovering from the clean-up job.
Kitchen Garden Arbor. This formerly-pleasant seating area has been smothered by a pair of hardy kiwi. I’ve hired a hit-man to end the chaos. (Hint: Do not plant hardy kiwi unless you are willing to prune its exuberant tentacles almost daily during the growing season.)
Pool Garden. Opposite the kitchen garden is an in-ground pool framed with hemlock and statuary. Failing any snow in the forecast, we shall open the pool next week. Hallelujah.
I’m getting bored now, so let’s speed things up a bit. Forward and march to…
Other Gardens. Beyond the pool and kitchen enclosures is the shady Woodland Garden. This garden, too, has been cleared of fallen leaves so that its perennial residents — ferns and hosta among them — can emerge. Click here to see the Woodland Garden in summer.
And here’s the Serpentine Garden, now begging for a rake. Click here to see how I designed this terraced oasis.
Perfuming the Serpentine today is this cluster of ‘Blue Jacket’ hyacinths…
And this navy-striped white Pushkinia.
At the base of the Serpentine is the tiny Herb Garden. Here, Avery the Gnat-Attacker awaits.
Back in 2014, I rooted boxwood cuttings in the herb garden’s four raised beds. This spring I shall donate many of these enduring evergreens to a local garden club. The remaining boxwood is destined for the front border of the kitchen garden.
And once the boxwood has been relocated, and my can-do attitude returns, I’ll plant the flat of parsley and herbs that I purchased nearly a month ago. I love spring!
In the comments field below, tell me how your own garden is faring in mid-April of 2019. Is it all cleaned up and ready to dance? Or is it — gasp! — still covered in snow?