Sunday, July 17, 2011

Further Afield - A Garden Tour

Today Tom and I went on a self-directed garden tour of local gardens in two towns. We focused on six gardens, leaving the little in-town pocket gardens for another day. We visited four homes, one inn, and one farm.

The first one was a place off a country road with a fantastic view and a pond. The plantings near the house were quite formal while those down by the pond were a bit wilder, more natural.

The second one was a home that had been in the same family since it was built in 1882 until it was bought by a couple in 1983. They have done various modernizations to the house and gardens over the years. This is a large property within the town so you can see other houses and the highway from the grounds.

The third home was out in the country with an amazing view of many of our mountains, though the plantings weren't as numerous or as appealing to me.

The next stop on the tour was a local farm which sells its vegetables, goat cheese, and meats from a food stand, at the local farmers' markets, and through subscriptions in their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. I talked to the guy at the farmers' market this morning before our tour and he said most of the CSA members have their own gardens but they like getting produce earlier in the season and different vegetables than they grow themselves. I am going to get information on this and will consider if it is something we might like to try next year. They have both a spring and fall subscription. This is a real working farm with greenhouses, chickens, pigs, turkeys, and goats.

That old camper is the chicken house!

The fifth place was my favorite by far. It is now an inn, but it was built by a wealthy, famous man in the 1920s for his daughter and her new husband as a wedding present. Tom's parents stayed there last fall so we got to see the inside then. There's a wonderful little library area where I could have happily spent a vacation. But today the focus was on the grounds. They are bursting with blooms which are presented in a most natural way. There are stone pathways up and down the hill from the inn. The various gardens have names -

the patio garden,

the pond garden,

and the gate garden.

The walkway through the gate ends at this fountain.

There is a path through the woods which is reached via a wooden bridge over the cat tail filled marsh.

The last garden we visited we viewed only from the outside. It is on a side street in our little town, and is called an 'entrance garden.' I so love this place. Down the hill behind the house is the private back yard. Really such a lovely space.

We so enjoyed our hours walking around all these places, but honestly when we came home we thought our gardens were the prettiest we had seen. Probably because we have planted all the flowers and vegetables ourselves, and love them as if they were a little like friends. My preference in gardening is less mulch and closer plantings than most of the places we saw today which featured larger expanses of cedar mulch and fewer plants. Today was like a little vacation for Tom and I, and we had such a nice day.


  1. What a fabulous tour. Thank you so much for taking us with you.
    PS...I, too, prefer your home place.

  2. What a lovely and fun garden tour I just had. Such great photos; thanks Nan.

  3. Thank you for taking us along with you too. I loved all your photos but the one of the gate garden is so inviting. :-)

  4. Sounds like a wonderful day and the pictures you posted are wonderful. I wish I were that talented with flower gardens. What a lovely day!!

  5. When you do garden tours it is a good sign that you are doing things right in your own garden when you come home and know it is the best. I too love to do garden tours. You always find a spot or two of inspiration. I would love to have a pond.

  6. Beautiful pictures, and I can see why the fifth garden is your favourite - and I understand why you like your own garden best of all! The path through the woods looks very inviting, I see the picture and instantly want to walk there and explore what's further on in the woods.

  7. Although I am a New Englander by birth and by inclination, I grew up "away." When we finally returned the smells and the flowers were just right--as though I had always been dreaming of them and didn't know it.

    Your photos and this tour are just right, the way all gardens should look. What a treat this post was for me! Thank you.

  8. Thank you so much for taking us with you. I did so enjoy the tour, what a beautiful part of the world you live in.

  9. I'm not fond of lots of mulch with sparse plantings either, but the second place you saw is, I must admit, beautiful. I certainly hope they have a gardener or two. I like the last place too. Very cozy.

    Have you ever been to Williamsburg, VA, to see the gardens?

  10. I think you should be part of the town garden tour. Your gardens are beautiful. I had planted one daylily plant awhile ago and it was producing just one bright orange flower, which I would look at each morning to see how it was progressing. One morning, I looked outside at the garden, and our new little puppy had the one and only daylily bloom firmly gripped in it's mouth! He was quite proud of his catch and I was quite upset. Anyway, I guess daylilies need more compost in the soil to produce flowers. Never had much success in growing them in my clay Californian soil. But yours are quite spectacular.

  11. What a wonderful day. Thanks so much for letting us tag along!!

  12. Where would we be without daylilies - and water?

  13. I LOVE gardens! Thank you for showing us some many beautiful places to admire.

  14. Jill, I guess our gardens are like our homes - they are personal and suit our own personalities.

    Diane, I'm pleased you came along!

    Kay, I'm not sure why that large gate was there to an entrance to such a small space. I wondered if it used to go to a place that has been changed over the years.

    Staci, I think it's really just in the choices of plants, and the love for them.

    Lisa, maybe not 'right' but definitely what I love. My inspiration was hollyhocks. I don't seem to be able to overwinter them here, so I think I will try starting them under the lights and using them as annuals. They are the flower of my childhood and I so love them. Ponds are so very expensive to make and to keep up.

    Librarian, we did follow the path. It was a nice wide, walkable one through the woods. We thought it was probably used for cross country skiing in the winter.

    Clair, I'm so very glad you liked it. I like gardens that are part of their own landscape and region. One you look at and say, that's a New Mexico garden or that's a New Hampshire garden or that's an Indiana garden. I'm a big believer in growing what grows easily and naturally in one's home place.

    Carole, as do you!!

    Barbara, the man does all the stone work, and the woman along with her landscaper sister does the gardens. They weren't 'difficult' gardens to maintain I don't think. Mostly breezy perennials.

    Susan, what a cute picture you describe! It's been such a long time since I've had a puppy.

    JoAnn, it was such a fun day.

    Pat, absolutely!

    Kay, me too!

  15. Thank you for letting me tag along.
    I agree with you on having a lot of plants and less mulch. Of course my garden is new but it is where I am headed - less weeding.
    The heat has just about finished my small veggie garden.

  16. What fun! I think my favorites are #2 and #5. We have garden tours like this every year, but I've never gone.

    My poor yard is suffering from the heatwave right now. :( It was looking so lovely 2 weeks ago, but now everything's looking very tired. Except the weeds. They're quite happy and thriving. ;)

  17. I'm sorry about your vegetables, Ernestine.

    Les, I hope you get to go on one sometime. This is our third over the past five years and we so enjoy them. This is the first one in our area - the others were further away. Do you have a water ban so you can't water your flowers?

  18. No, we're not on water rationing, but we were out of town for over a week and I didn't have the gal who was watering my potted plants worry about the perennials in the yard (or the grass). It's been super hot (100+ for days!) and everything's looking a bit beat up. :(

  19. Les, and I think it's bad in the high-nineties for couple days. :<)

  20. Your pictures are so vibrant. I would love to take this garden/farm tour. Thanks for sharing with us.

  21. Thanks, Peaceful Reader. I can't believe how much cooler it is than it was that day!

  22. Nan! This post makes me homesick. Love New Hampshire in summer and paired with the beauty of its architecture, it just can't be beat!

  23. Catherine, it sure is lovely, especially now that the weather is more normal. Today - 73º at 10 am, clear, perfect.

  24. Those are so beautiful pictures. What fun :)

  25. Well, aren't you two dear to write! Judi and I like that little house at the end of the post.


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