Monday, September 19, 2011

Do I have to talk about my garden?

I’d much rather not. It looks fine and all—in fact, there’s been a decent amount of late season activity, thanks to tireless annuals, oblivious tropicals and a few warhorse perennials (rudbeckia, buddleia, etc., etc.). Things are winding down now; it’s almost time to bring the houseplants in and bury the bulbs.

To a certain degree, this has been a summer of looking at other people’s gardens. In July, the Seattle bloggers’ meet-up provided a whirlwind tour of magnificent private and public landscapes. The Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island was the most spectacular site we visited, in my opinion, and I think most of the bloggers would agree. There have been many posts on the Seattle gardens, but I am sharing just two images from Bloedel, at top and above. This is part of their Japanese area. I’ve seen plenty of Japanese gardens, but the variety of specimen trees, the artistry, and the luxuriant spectrum of greens in this one set it apart.

In August, we had two great garden visits, one private and one public. First we stopped by the fabulous property of Layanee/Ledge and Gardens. She made us a wonderful lunch, most of it fresh from her garden, and then we walked around in a steady rain to view her extensive gardens. There are several beds framing the house, more around the pool, and a good-sized vegetable bed. I didn’t take as many pictures as I thought—the rain, we were talking—but here’s a decent one (above).

Finally, we saw the formal grounds of Edith Wharton’s former home, The Mount, on our way back from New England. It’s gone through some rough times over the years, but is being restored. Wharton was an accomplished landscape designer in the classic fashion, clearly inspired by gardens she’d seen in Europe. I liked the contract between two equally formal spaces—a shady walled Italian garden and the quartered sunny flowerbeds. There are also magnificent buddleia and hydrangeas massed along the slope to the house (not visible here).

That will be it for garden tourism unless we make it to the tropics this winter. Fingers crossed!