Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Wiseacre Delivery!

Saturday was a blogger's highlight here at Sweetside as fellow garden blogger John of Wiseacre Gardens came from Upstate NY to Amherst making a special visit and delivery of a fabulous rock for my stream. A detour threw him off and the trip took much longer than he anticipated but he persisted and eventually found his way here. In 4 years of blogging this was the first time I have had the opportunity to meet someone I've "met" thru the blogosphere.

Thank you John!

Once I find the perfect spot for the lovely rock I will post a picture of it in its new home.

Now...off to Maine for a few days to wrap up a busy but great summer! UMass begins in 12 days and next week is one prep meeting after another. I am hoping for a beautiful Fall to carry me through. I'll be headed out to my favorite local farm stand to buy Fall mums and add their splash to the landscape soon!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Private Gardens of Stockbridge & Lenox Part 3

Meetings and planning for the fast approaching school year are ramping up so... please forgive the delay since my last post.

Now back to my blog tour of the Private Gardens of Stockbridge & Lenox as seen in the recent Garden Conservancy's Open Days.

The third house & garden we visited was the Garden of 1826 Pease-Lincoln House in Stockbridge. The original gardens here were designed by Daniel Chester French and have been expanded by the current home owners, to extend all the way to the Housatonic River at the back side of the property.

Closer to the house are more formal, traditional gardens and statuary.

As you journey further along into the woodland area and down to the river, the design becomes more causal and whimsical.

Along the river, tucked into the bushes, is a tea house and a row of great birdhouses off all sorts. Multiple paths and loops draw the viewer into various side gardens including a peaceful area with hammock and another with a small firepit. So much to see...so little time. Definitely a delightfully different garden experience.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sweetside Garden in August

I know I'm due for another installment in the "Private Gardens of Stockbridge and Lenox" series I began earlier this week but I want to pause to show you my gardens as they look this week -- New England in early August. This is when my echinachea plants are really showing their stuff. These plants were divisions off my ones at my former home, just two years ago. I was shocked by how huge they were last year and are incredible again this year. They stand about 4' tall and are full of blooms.

Isn't this a sweet picture? I was taking care of my grand-dog, Lexi this week. She really likes the stream, although I think she prefers the mountain stream at her house with its mud bottom where she can splash around and really dig in.

Here's a picture that shows some of my phlox and a bit of the new patio on the south side overlooking the stream.

Since we added the picket fence this year I decided to add some annuals to the outside of the fence, towards the road. The cleome's are surely eye catching.

I also grew 3 morning glory plants along the fence. I know I might regret it as they are rather unruly and reseed so prolifically but I have such fond memories of growing them as a child and with my own kids when they were young. These were propagated by a local nursery and have a rather unusual color I think. Maybe that will be what redeems them. I love how they have manged to weave themselves through the holes in our fence.

As I wrap up tonight, here is a picture of the stream taken from the bottom, near the little pond. The plants have grown so large you can hardly make out the winding 30' stream and cannot see all of it from any one spot... but...that after all was the vision.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Private Gardens of Stockbridge & Lenox - Part II

The second garden we toured as part of the Garden Conservancy's Open Days last Sunday was also in Stockbridge, just down the road a piece from the first one -- Fitzpatrick's Hillhome. This estate was designed in 1918 and the gardens were created from 1933-1935. This location of this garden is stunning! Perched on a hillside with a westerly view of the Berkshire hills, the heavily terraced property has fabulous views and oodles of stonework, to which I am particularly drawn.

As you come down the curvaceous driveway you see the front of the house and hear the lovely sound of water trickling in the fountain across from the front door.

To enter the rest of the property you must pass through a doorway in the brick wall.

Step through this passage and you have enterred a gardner's paradise! To the left there is a long lawn edged on one side with large yews and on the other with a delightful border garden.

An opening in the far hedge with the hint of a brick structure draws one to adventure across this lawn. Upon arriving at the brick covered terrace structure one discovers a lower terrace with a fountain (shown here) and a upper terraced swimming pool (behind & above the covered terrace in this picture)

From the fountain area there is a pea-stone path leading back towards the house, down one terraced level from the main lawn. From here you can view the house up to your right.

As you continue along you come to a fork in the path -- to the left you wind steeply downhill to a lily pond under a willow.

The right path takes you over to the east side of the house where there is a folly resembling an old ruin.

The stones were carried here piece by piece from an old mill that was being dismantled in West Stockbridge.

Exiting the folly one comes back to the terraced lawn just behind the house with comfy chairs for relaxing and taking in the peaceful vista.

Lemonade and cookies were also provided!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Private Gardens in Stockbridge & Lenox

Today was the Garden Conservancy's Open Days in the Berkshires so B and I journeyed west an hour or so to see what they had to "say" to us.

In short --all four of today's featured gardens were absolutely stunning!!
On view today were: the Brown Garden, the Fitzpatrick's Hillhome, the Garden of 1826 Pease-Lincoln House (gardens designed by sculptor Daniel Chester French, of Lincoln Monument fame) and Foothill Farm (near Tanglewood).
This last home & garden held a personal surprise for me but that will have to wait a few days as I want to share one garden & house at a time so as to not rush through it.

Tonight I will begin with the first garden we viewed -- the Brown Garden in Stockbridge. The blurb says the house was built in 1823 and sits on 25 acres. The current gardens have been in development since 1980.

As one comes down the pea-stone driveway you glimpse the first of the wonderful Berkshire Hills views.

To the right is the house with impressive marble steps at the main entrance and a wide, enclosed porch that wraps around 3 sides of the home.

The south side overlooks the well landscaped backyard with its Berkshire Hills views. It is dressed in crisp blue and white stripped awnings. A sweeping double staircase leads from the house, through the porch and down to the garden.

Behind and below the house is a walled garden, more formal in style and beyond that, slightly downhill to the south and to the west, are additional, beds.

To the west of the house is a well landscaped and very natural looking swimming pool, a small water-garden feature, a stone BBQ pit and a putting green.

There is a hot tub in the circular open porch (behind the BBQ 9n the picture) with gorgeous views.

The wrap around enclosed porch is home to several cozy seating areas and displays of luscious potted begonias. Tucked away on the north side of the porch is even a ping pong table! I spotted a dart board as well. In addition to greta aesthetics, someone at the Brown House apparently has a playful spirit.

I hope you enjoyed Part 1 of our tour - the Brown Garden in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Come again soon to see Parts 2, 3 & 4 of Garden Conservancy's Open Days in the Berkshires.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Little Feet in the Garden!

Last Sunday my mom's 85th birthday party was held at Sweetside. Twenty-seven members of my immediate family were here, including all 8 of her great-grandchildren. It was hectic (especially when the huge thunderstorm blew in!) but so much fun to see everyone here and especially to see the little children enjoying each other and playing in the garden! The stream was a huge hit as one might expect. Children and water...they seem to go hand in hand.

Jess took almost 300 pictures, mostly close ups of various family members which will be wonderful for everyone to have. Here are just a couple that show the garden in full use.

Sigh..... aren't the rewards of digging in the dirt just splendid?