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Posts Tagged ‘Woodland’

 

Now that it’s coming on to winter I’ll be playing catch-up with my posts. I’ve got lots of pictures of places I visited through the growing season that I’ll be posting in the days to come. And now that I am layed off from work for the winter I’ll have lots of time to do this!
So here goes……….
I want to tell you about a very special place created by a couple of very special people on their patch of paradise in Branford, CT. This is the home of Nick Nicou and Carol Hanby, two very generous, talented and all around nice garden nuts!

When driving down the towards the house you pass magnificent specimens of huge Mt. Laurels, Variegated Dogwoods, large swaths of perennials and the most beautiful Rhododendrons.

Nick & Carol are members of the New England chapter of APS and generously offered to host a meeting/garden tour at their home in Branford, CT last June. This was very exciting for me as Nick is one of the most respected experts on Rhododendrons in the US, and a tour through his & Carol’s gardens is a huge treat!
These gardens have been developed and grown for over 50 years so you can imagine the size of some of these shrubs and trees.

This is the larges variegated Pagoda Dogwood I've ever seen! And it just lit up the shade.

Only 3 of us showed up for the tour which was too bad for all who couldn’t make it as we knew we were in for something truly special and inspiring.
Carol & Nick welcomed us into their home for a pot-luck lunch & tour on a lovely late spring day. The Rhodies were going past their prime but there was so many other lovely shrubs, trees & perennials just coming into peak bloom!

This hardy pitcher plant was in full bloom in a simple bog garden Carol created from a mason's tough, which just a large plastic tub filled with sandy soil & peat moss.

The garden slopes down towards a marshy area and then to a pond that you can just barely see through the branches of huge Rhododendrons, Mt. Laurels, Magnolia, Dogwoods and many other choice & unusual woody plants. We took a leisurly stroll down the wandering paths stopping often for detailed descriptions of many of the lovely specimens. At the bottom of the garden was the shady marsh area filled with Primula japonica just going past it’s best…but still a lovely sight to behold!

Thousands of Japanese Primrose greeted us as we arrived at the bottom of the garden. These have been happily self sowing for years. Carol also adds new plants throughout the summer.

We then made our way through the ‘Rhododendron Dell’, most were past bloom but there was still a number hanging on to a few flowers. The size of the plants is what was astonishing to me. I never thought they could grow so large in New England. Loads were over 12 feet tall! I wish I could remember the species and names for you.


The rest of the tour was one big hortigasmic orgy! Running from one marvel of nature to the next!!

This is genus I am fascinated with. Those leaves look so alien and beautiful! I want to try growing these from seed.


I could keep adding photos all day there was so much to see, but I’ll end with a pic of the creators of this most amazing place that is so special and I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to visit and enjoy getting to know the owners a bit better.

Don’t forget you can click on every photos for a larger version.

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Entrance to the garden

Follow along as I meander through fellow Primula-nut Arlene’s large and well established garden on a hilltop in Vermont.

Friend Mary & I got together last weekend to tour the garden and take in a couple of nurseries along the way as long as the weather held up. Which lately wasn’t happening all that much. We’ve had the rainiest April & May on record so as you can imagine the lawns & gardens are soaking wet!

Using our faithful Tomtom GPS to get us there we arrived just after lunchtime pulling up to Arlene’s house with a gorgeous view of the mountain valley. Her house is at the end of a dirt road with no near neighbors so it was very quiet and still. Arlene was there in her garden to greet us and guide us through the wandering stone pathways, indicating which year a certain plant was grown and set out or where another plant was purchased and who the lovely apricot double primrose was named for.

Double Apricot Primrose 'Agnes'

Following the Paths Through the Garden

Woodland Wonders

After an intial walk-through I slowly made my way through again taking close-ups of the flowers that caught my attention…and there were so many! There are large patches of Trillium, Cypripedium, Solomon’s Seal, Double Bloodroot, Anemone nemerosa, and so many other treasures!

Trillium grandiflorum, Large White Trillium

The yellow Trillium luteum with Cypripedium parviflorum. (I think)

And of course there were Primulas galore!!

Primula sieboldii

Primula polyanthus deep maroon

Arlene’s primroses have been crossing and self-sowing here for many years that everywhere you look there are multitudes of variation. Every shade of the rainbow..almost, and every form of petal. The plants are grown in rich garden loam, amended with compost and all under the shade of very old apple trees. Arlene adds new beds each year as she grows so many from seed from the APS seed exchange. In fact she is always the first to send her seed in to the exchange and the first to order! It’s fun to see what she has grown from all the donations from around the world.

A lovely Primula elatior of a bright red color.

A glowing pink polyanthus, a chance seedling popping up.

Growing from seed is one of my most favorite things to do, and the variation you get always surprises.

After a little plant swapping time where I came away with the apricot double, a bright maroon sieboldii and the deep red polyanthus Mary & I made our way over to Marshfield and the nursery of friend George Africa to say hi and see what he and Gail have been up to. Their nursery Vermont Flower Farm is on Rte. 2 overlooking old farm pastures which George is busy turning into display gardens and growing fields for their Daylilies. The selection of Hosta was amazing as were the Epimedium which Mary loved and picked one to bring home.

The weather held up as we wended our way back to Hubbardton over the Appalachian Gap and down past Rocky Dale Gardens. Now I need to find a spot in my gardens for the newest treasures!

Every photo is clickable for enlarging and more description!

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