Saturday, July 26, 2008

My Favorite Thing

I love to tour houses, but I like gardens just as much, maybe more. Since I was so all-in after Sunday's house tour, we decided to hold off on looking at the gardens until Monday. (Your one-day pricey ticket can be upgraded to two days for $10.00--a good deal). So we got an early start on Monday and arrived at the garden while it was still nice and cool and relatively empty. I know it was hot everywhere last week, but it cooled down nicely at night (you're up in the mountains) and warmed up steadily all day long until it was frying by about 2 P.M. Anyway, the gardens were a pleasant surprise after the magnificence and size of the house. They were pretty compact and easily doable in about an hour. The beautiful Conservatory in the photo is like a jungle, plants everywhere and just enough room to walk the aisles.

As you start up the path there is a shady grape arbor all the way to the end.

See the lattice-framed windows on both sides of the arbor. They look out to perfectly symmetrical beds on either side; in other words, the right hand side is the mirror image of the left. I was quite taken with those framed windows.

The beds are arranged in long borders around the perimeter and divided up into large beds with grassy areas between them inside the borders.

The back stone wall was espaliered with different varieties of apples and pears. From Wikipedia:

Espalier is the horticultural technique of training trees through pruning and grafting in order to create formal "two-dimensional" or single plane patterns by the branches of the tree. The technique was popular in the Middle Ages in Europe to produce fruit inside the walls of a typical castle courtyard without interfering with the open space, and to decorate solid walls by such trees planted near them. Evidence exists suggesting that the technique dates back much further, perhaps even to ancient Egypt. The word espalier initially referred to the actual trellis on which the plant was trained to grow, but over time has come to be used to describe the technique.

There is a garden shop (of course) behind the Conservatory which had some interesting plants for sale.

This is Brugmansia--very dramatic flowers with a delicate, lovely scent. The flowers can be fatal if ingested, however, or at the very least cause hallucinations and disorientation. I don't think they'd be a good choice to grow where there were little children or pets.

I wish I knew what this is. The leaves look like rhododendrons, but it's late for them to be blooming and I've never seen one with this shape flowers. I didn't stop to check out the name and now I wish I had. Very pretty.

This is streptocarpella and I do have this in my garden. It's getting big and overgrown now, so I'm going to try and put some cuttings in a bag like they've done here. It's just one of those green plastic bags they sell for begonias or impatiens, but I like it with the streptocarpella.

Finally, I liked these rain chains they were selling in the garden store. You hang them from your downspout and when it rains, it makes music. I might have to get one of them.

I have a few more pictures I'll post tomorrow about some of the other places we went on the estate. There's a lot to see.

1 comment:

Amy said...

i knew when I saw the pictures on flickr that this must have been your favorite part. It looks like you guys had a great time.