June 20, 2012

The Long Walk, Like It's 1910 Again

VIEW OF THE LONG WALK, LOOKING SOUTH. A LARGE TUB OF AGAPANTHUS -THE BLUE LILY OF THE NILE, WHICH IS ABOUT TO BLOOM, HAS BEEN PLACED ON A WIDE STUMP, WHERE A BLUE SPRUCE WAS CUT DOWN LAST YEAR.


Turn of the century gardens in New England were often inspired by a mixture of influences - my grand parents were clearly influenced by their immigrant roots, as we are finding out as we uncover formal walks and borders that have become over grown during the past 100 years. Particularly, this long walk, which is nearly 130 feet long - a standard feature in many gardens in 1910. These long walks were common in suburban gardens, as new immigrants planted Hollyhocks, fruiting shrubs, iris, poppies and herbs along long, strain stone or brick walks. Often seen in walled Italian gardens, or formal box-lined French parterres. the idea of a long walk adds more than structure to a garden, it helps bring a sense of perspective, with a long vista, and opportunities for repetitive textures and themes.

Our garden is not fancy, though it may look like it in some pictures! I assure you it is not, but this long walk does always surprise me, once we weed the gravel and edge it. It's a lot of work, which requires continual hand weeding, trimming and sweeping, but it does reward us on hot, summer evenings with a stroll out back to visit the ducks and pheasants - if one can dart between the mosquito's.

ALONG THE RIGHT SIDE, A PLEACHED HEDGE OF ENGLISH HORNBEAM, FRESHLY GROOMED, HELPS TO ADD SOME TEXTURE. I AM THINKING ABOUT PLANTING BOXWOOD ALONG THE LEFT SIDE, AND GOLDEN LEAVED PLANTS UNDER THE HEDGE THIS YEAR.

A pleached Hornbeam hedge, which I planted fifteen years ago is maturing nicely. Like a tall, deciduous hedge, elevated on poles, it is actually first woven, and carefully clipped, to achieve a formal, neat look. Now we cheat, and just trim it with Japanese hand sheers twice a year ( June, and September), but it often looks best in winter, when the foliage turns coppery brown, and stays on the branches until spring, a habit of the European Hornbeam.

LOOKING NORTH, ONE CAN APPRECIATE THE LENGTH OF THE LONG WALK, AND THE MOON BORDER ( WHITE FLOWERS) WHICH WAS JUST PLANTED THIS YEAR.

Lavatera Being Staked while young.

In the moon border, out white garden, annuals which are rarely seen grown well, such as these Lavatera, are started from seed in peat pots, and carefully slipped into prepared holes in the early spring, as they dislike disturbance of any kind. They may look like nothing now, but in a few weeks, these Lavatera, will take off and reward us with a shrub-like display of white flowers. A relative of the hibiscus, these annuals must be carefully staked while young, so that the main stem will be able to support the many side branches which will develop after the fourth of July. The same treatment is extended to the Mollucela, the Bells of Ireland, as they require similar cultural conditions.

LONG WALK, VIEW LOOKING SOUTH, TOWARDS THE HOUSE. AT THIS POINT, THE ROCK RUNS OUT, AND JUST GRAVEL IS LEFT, AS WE ARE NEAR THE WOODS, AND THE JUNKY PART OF THE YARD. HERE, THE BORDER IS PLANTED WITH MORE EASIER-TO-GROW SPREADING PLANTS, SUCH AS HOSTA AND VARIEGATED PETASITES.

You've been asking for different views of the yard, here is a view looking east from the long walk, toward the greenhouse roof. With temps reaching 100 deg. F today, the vents are full open. Clipped wisteria and magnolia foliage frames the view.

Sweet Pea Update!

Speaking of fragrant sweet peas, this tropical shrub is SO fragrant, that it is stealing the show at the moment. Murraya paniculata is extremely fragrant. I even had to close the bed room windows last night, as it woke me up. The hawk moths are going nuts with this pot placed out on the deck.

3 comments :

  1. I'm growing pink Lavatera myself as I got them as a bonus seed pack. Didn't know I needed to stake them, so thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. hopflower9:12 PM

    Those sweet peas are magnificent! Thank you for that luscious bouquet.

    ReplyDelete

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