Friday, March 5, 2010

Garden Envy

Just as the most ambitious new diet proclamations are made right after consuming the most decadent dessert, so, too, late winter is the time I set an ambitious agenda for garden sightseeing in the months to come.

Today's sky is a milky shade of gray and the snow is largely gone. We've all kept a stiff upper lip to get through the coldest months of winter, and while nor'easters, colorless days and the biting cold have their charm, early March has me restless and impatient. Where are the snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils that will signal spring at Owl Hollow? (Patience, dear Fern. Need I remind you that the average last frost date in this part of western Connecticut doesn't arrive until May 15?)

Some garden bloggers are putting the finishing touches on plot plans for this year's vegetable garden, and some have already started seedlings indoors. (That's hard for me to do with a Maine Coon adolescent who makes bits of dust, plastic wrappers and, yes, green things that grow, a regular part of his diet. No place is safe from the feline Hoover.)

But what really gets me going is the thought of all those gorgeous gardens I can visit this year. When the humidity becomes uncomfortable and the bugs are out, procrastination comes easily, especially if I can put off my own garden chores to become a voyeur of others' hard labor and sweat. Just let me poke around, photograph and otherwise gain inspiration to coax my own gardens to delusions of grandeur, and I'll call that a great day.

I was admiring the photos of Scotland's Drummond Castle gardens that Laurie over at My Weeds Are Very Sorry posted. (What exquisite symmetry.) It's safe to say that for as long as I'm dealing with a long-term bout of unemployment, trips abroad won't be on my itinerary. But by way of compensation, I happily commit to visiting as many local gardens right here in Connecticut that I can squeeze in.

Last year, my mother and I visited the lovely Hollister House Garden in Washington (shown above and below). The 25-acre garden, created in 1979 and today a Garden Conservancy project, has evolved into a portrait of formal versus natural landscape design, hidden walkways, nooks and crannies and 10-foot-high walls and hedges that define outdoor "rooms."

This year, I've added the following must-see gardens to my list:

  • Bellamy-Ferriday Garden in Bethlehem
  • Hill Stead Gardens in Farmington
  • Harkness Memorial State Park and Gardens in Waterford
  • Promisek at Three Rivers Farm in Bridgewater
I can't wait!


  1. Fern, thanks for noting my blog! Hillstead is a worthwhile trip, although the sunken garden is only so-so. It's the house (and art masterpieces inside!) and the whole farm setting that are beautiful. I haven't visited the others on your list.. I may have to do so vicariously when you blog about them.

  2. Thanks, Laurrie. I'm really looking forward to some garden tours.

    Yes, some of these little gardens are obscure and not very well known. That's what makes it so fun to discover them.