Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Summer of Rain...

Yes, no chance that the garden will dry out while this summer continues. OTOH it's been great for knitting and Brit-TV watching.

Went to visit a fabulous garden on Sunday - open for charity. I have admired this one from afar for quite a while, as it is opposite the place where we used to go to get our lawnmower serviced (the old gas mower. Dave doesn't do electric). On the outside there is a lovely Japanese-inspired fence with a lovely, wide, herbaceous border. It includes a pergola and a door as well.

Inside, it's amazing! There are two sun-houses, a cottage done up like a guest bedroom, several more bits of the nice fencing, a long fenced-in walk, many pergolas and other structures, and innumerable sets of tables and chairs with tea sets and decorative birdhouses, dotted around everywhere.
The theme is "VICTORIAN", and yes, I do mean the all-caps. Much too twee for my taste, all of that, but the plants were amazing. There were lots of beds with roses integrated into the planting - this must be my aim this fall, I'm already making spots where they could go. I mean to take out the less-hardy ones I've had in the front of the rose mound and just let the rugosa-types take it over, and place the others here and there in the beds.

(I have been having propagation fun in the greenhouse. When I cut back my big pink Geranium Macrorrhizum I had several bits with roots on them, from underneath the plant, so I potted them up and now I have about a dozen, growing away in pots. Too bad I like them so little - they make a great leafy plant but not much bloom. The Geranium Sanguineum have been setting seeds, so I potted up some of those yesterday, as well as potting up some cuttings. I think the rainy summer has been good for rooting cuttings. No chance of any of them drying out.)

Anyway, back to the Aiken garden. There were many, many spectacular clematis everywhere, sometimes climbing a post in the middle of a big bed, other times on the structures, either fences or pergolas, etc. I really liked this dark pink one.  A few had finished flowering, but most were full out and gorgeous. If I knew more about clematis I would maybe know what kinds they were.

 There were many hydrangeas as well, most of them the white ones - Annabelle, I think. They had a couple of the big-leafed ones, with the gigantic blue and pink flowers. They were just planted, I think...quite small. Anyway, they obviously make lovely cut flower arrangements as well.
 There seems to be a mainly pink-and-white colour scheme in large areas of the garden, which I liked a lot, as that's what I think goes best around our place here. So, lots of suggestions about what could be used here. There were plenty of yellows and oranges, but in other locations, separate from the pinks and whites. Specifically, there is a series of terraced beds leading down to the brook from the screened porch. There were plenty of daylilies there, as well as hostas and astilbes.

There were a lot of hostas everywhere, of course, as they do a great job of filling in the fronts of borders and so on. (I am still convinced that gardens can be made without them.)

All in all, an amazing garden, full of great plants looking absolutely wonderful, and not so terribly far out of my reach - in a more modified way.
I think I want my structures to be more organic (willow, rough cedar) and my seating to be more in keeping with the arts and crafts esthetic than the Victorian. But I'd take the plants! They must have the greenest of thumbs. The garden was started 20 years ago, and Mrs Aiken says they haven't done much that's new for the last five years, but there is a new DU pond next door that will take some decorating - she says rhododendrons. Spring interest!

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