A Chrysanthemum Show

For several years it’s been on the list to visit a chrysanthemum show.  Not just any farmstand with fat bushelbaskets of mum color, but an official show with carefully trained displays complete with a bunch of different styles… foremost among them the single bloom monsters which I love above all others.  I don’t know much about mums, but I do know I needed to see a show.  Enter friend with suggestion to go to NYC 🙂

ny botanical garden kiku

Kiku: Spotlight on Tradition.  If the show has a name, it’s got to be official, right?  Cascading forms and bonsai trained Kiku (Japanese for chrysanthemum) greeted us as we entered the greenhouse display. 

We settled on a visit to the New York Botanical Garden.  Strangely enough, for someone with a mild plant obsession and who grew up less than 50 miles away, this would be my first visit to the NY Botanical, but better late than never, right?  Actually the truth is that the Bronx Zoo was always the winner when we were making our way to this part of the city.  Actually it still tends to win out, but at least now I can blame the kids.  I digress though.  We made it to the Gardens at a decent time and were pleased to find ourselves visiting on one of those blue-sky, crisp air mornings that are perfect for brisk walks through extensive botanical gardens.  I bet you didn’t even know that was a weather category, but for further reference it’s just a tad warmer than leaf-raking weather.

ny botanical garden kiku

Carefully trained and nurtured for months, the kiku display covers a range of styles and forms.

The actual display was a little smaller than I was expecting, probably due to greenhouse renovations and all the plant moving that goes with that, but the flowers were fascinating.  I like the big, full flowers best, but there were plenty others to catch the eye.  Actually enough caught my eye to get me thinking that maybe I need to dig a big part of the garden up and just plant it to all chrysanthemums.

ny botanical garden kiku

Class 11 brush and thistle chrysanthemum ‘Saga Nishiki’.  I believe there are 13 classes in all.  

Photographers were out in droves capturing flowers and fall foliage, and one person I spoke with was enthralled with the light… ‘the light is amazing’ she said, but for a point and shoot kind of photo-taker like myself the pictures on my camera leave much to be desired.  Hopefully the give a decent feel for the display.

ny botanical garden kiku

I was quite impressed by the garlands of chrysanthemum trained from side to side, but the towers of flowers on the right, and the various classes lined out on the left, kept me in this part of the greenhouse for quite a while.  

In case you’re wondering I did get to see plenty of the huge single blooms as well.  My tastes run to the gaudy end of the spectrum, so these big, fluffy things were just perfect.

ny botanical garden kiku

I believe these are of the regular incurve class of chrysanthemums.  I may have given a bloom or two a light squeeze, they’re so irresistibly full (my grandmother would have been appalled). 

Wait, how could I forget the spider form.  I love these as well… although I always wonder why the ring supports underneath are bright white and not a less obvious black or dark green…

ny botanical garden kiku

Spider perfection at the NY Botanical Garden

With the serious business out of the way it was time to wander the grounds and enjoy the beautiful fall weather.  Foliage was at its peak and beginning to wind down.

ny botanical garden autumn

Japanese maples never disappoint.

Early November is probably not the showiest month for flowers, but we did enjoy all the trails and vistas and well tended plantings, and it’s amazing to think our quiet afternoon happened within the city limits of a metropolis which millions call home.

ny botanical garden autumn

The light, the light… Inside the rock garden.

Although we weren’t able to find a single autumn flowering snowdrop we did catch the last of the Halloween displays and some of the other events going on in the park.

ny botanical garden autumn

Giant squash and warty gourds almost made up for the lack of snowdrops.  They’re so nice in fact that I’m actually considering planting my entire garden to squash and Indian corn next year.   

And then we arrived at the main greenhouses and I forgot all about squash and snowdrops.  The salvia were in bloom.

ny botanical garden autumn

Yellow Salvia madrensis, fuzzy purple Salvia leucantha, and probably the carmine bloom of salvia ‘Wendy’s Wish’ flowering in the Ladies Border.

Most of the fall blooming salvias arrive a little too late to show off in my PA garden, but here in the big city they flourish.

ny botanical garden autumn

Yellow pineapple sage (Salvia elegans ‘Golden Delicious’) in the herb garden.  Mine is usually just opening its first flowers when frost crashes the party. 

So now I’m thinking I’ll plant the whole garden with salvias.  I could do worse.

ny botanical garden autumn

More Salvia madrensis alongside purple barberry and perennial sunflowers.  It was a beautiful day 🙂

And then our visit came to its end.  I didn’t want to admit it but my legs were kind of worn out from all the walking and when we sat down for a bite to eat neither of us were in a rush to get going again.  Perhaps we should have taken advantage of the trams circling the garden, but I’m sure there will be plenty of time to rest up when the winter season rolls in… which judging by the 10 day forecast will be sooner rather than later.

Have a great weekend!

Were those snowdrops all just a dream?

It’s hard to believe that just over a week ago this gardener was completely consumed by snowdrops.  Today the grass is green and people are nursing sunburns but just seven days ago we braved the usual snow squalls and windchills to pay Trumansburg NY and Hitch Lyman’s Temple Nursery a visit.

snowdrops temple nursery

The garden’s namesake reflected in the overflowing waters of the garden’s pond. There had been plenty of rain in the days previous… good for melting the last of the snow.

This was our third visit to the gardens and for a snowdrop lover it’s always a treat.  Mr. Lyman opens his garden through the Garden Conservancy, an organization committed to opening gates and preserving gardens across North America, and although this one’s early spring drabness might not appeal to everyone, it’s a treasure chest for those interested in seeing what is likely North America’s most diverse collection of galanthus (snowdrop) cultivars.  But perhaps your interests lie in the warmer seasons and silly things such as sunshine and butterflies.  If so check out the other garden open days listings, and you may be surprised at what’s open in your neck of the woods!

snowdrops at hitch lyman garden

Snowdrops along the woodland path of Hitch Lyman’s Temple Gardens.

Since most of the rest of the world is well beyond snowdrop season I’ll try to keep this quick.  Interest in little white flowers dims quickly once the tulips start to open and I want to list this year’s favorites so I have something to look back on next January when the fever starts up again.

galanthus mrs backhouse #12

You can’t go wrong with the clean and simple. This is an old classic, galanthus “Mrs. Backhouse #12”.

Since I’ll be the first to admit that nearly all small white snowdrops look remarkably identical I’ll try to focus on a few that stand out.  The ‘greens’ caught my eye this year, and galanthus ‘Greenish’ was looking perfectly different this spring and really makes a nice clump among the whites.

galanthus greenish

Galanthus “Greenish”

Green is different, but a green ‘spikey’ is even more different.  I’m not sure if this tiny burst of flower is to everyone’s taste but it is definitely what I’d call ‘interesting’….

galanthus boyd's double

Galanthus “Boyd’s double”

Yellow is also different, but on a flower like “Spindlestone Surprise” it looks just great.  This was one of several nice clumps of yellow drops.

galanthus spindlestone surprise

Galanthus “Spindlestone Surprise”

Ok, so one more picture of an interesting green.

galanthus green arrow

Galanthus “Green Arrow”

I hear that when temperatures rise enough above 40F (5C) the flowers in this garden will actually open wide and show off their inner markings.  I have yet to experience that since we always seem to be at the garden the day before the sun comes out and the air temperatures rise.  This year was par for the course since the Sunday forecast called for a calm and sunny 60F.

galanthus augustus

Even when still closed, the puckered petals and grass green foliage of galanthus “Augustus” still make for a great show.

I hate to admit that over the years I’ve added quite a few snowdrops to my garden, and with each new one I somehow tell myself it’s exactly the drop to complete some final empty void in my collection.  To publically admit I have a collection is a bad sign in itself, but to admit I NEED even species snowdrops is probably another bad omen.  They’re all white and green, just like every other snowdrop, but each one is just so much more special than the last 🙂

Galanthus koenenianus

Galanthus koenenianus. How can you not love those fat grey leaves? This was just one of several interesting little species snowdrops Mr. Lyman grows.

Now that we’re getting into special little things which make your fulfilling life seem just a tiny bit lacking lets look at this early blooming scilla relative which goes by the name of puschkinia.  This strain is supposed to have more rounded heads with darker lines of color and since I don’t grow it (yet) I’ll take their word for it.

Puschkinia scilloides 'Aragats Gem'

Puschkinia scilloides ‘Aragats Gem’

…and what gardener goes on a garden visit without adding something to the wishlist?  These last two will surely remain on the list for a while since even I can’t justify the pricetags which usually accompany them.

galanthus phillip andre meyer

Galanthus “Phillip Andre Meyer”.  I think of these as pagoda shaped although they’re usually referred to as inverse poculiforms (ipocs, or inpocs if you fear the wrath of Apple’s trademark police).  The flowers are reversed (inverted) with the green inner petals on the outside, and all six petals nearly similar in length.

“A. E. Bowles” will not likely visit my garden anytime soon but I’m going to put it as number one on the wishlist.  How exciting (for me at least) to be able to see it in bloom, and what a great way to commemorate such a talented plantsman and author.  Actually the snowdrop “Augustus” is another drop which is named after him, as well as dozens of other cultivars of plants.  Not a bad legacy in my opinion.

galanthus e a bowles

Galanthus “E.A.Bowles”

Of course it’s not all about pedigreed names and high pricetags.  There were plenty of clumps who’s names were known only to Mr. Lyman yet were still fantastic first signs of spring.

double snowdrop galanthus elwesii

No obvious label on this one, but its fat, rounded blooms made me happy to see it. Nice foliage as well.

After a long visit we were finally on the road again and made a quick pit stop at Ithaca’s Cornell Plantation.  The plantation is part of Cornell University and we wanted to stop in quickly for a look at their gardens, in particular their winter garden.

cornell plantation winter garden

Cornell Plantation’s winter garden.  Bright conifers, colorful bark, and a few winter bloomers all just recently released from underneath a cold blanket of snow.

The winter garden was a nice stop but since our fingers were still tingling from the cold we didn’t exactly linger much.  I don’t think I’d mind coming back in another few weeks when things really explode, but on this particular day the conifers and bare twigs, for as colorful as they were, just couldn’t keep us away from the heated car seats.

cornell plantation winter garden

More gardens at Ithaca’s Cornell University. The arboretum and other parts called but we wanted to get home before dark!

In spite of the weather we always end up enjoying our visit up to Trumansburg, Ithaca, and the Temple Gardens and are grateful that Mr. Lyman opens them up each spring.  In case you’re unaware Mr. Lyman also sells snowdrops so if you’re interested the process is to send three or four dollars to the following address: Temple Nursery (H Lyman) Box 591 Trumansburg, NY 14886.  Catalogs go out in January and the drops are usually sold out within a few weeks so you need to be quick!

Enjoy spring and your very own garden visits 🙂

Chanticleer (pt 2 of 3)

It’s been longer than I planned, but here’s the continuation of my Chanticleer visit.  Part 2 of the visit picks up at the tennis courts, a part of the gardens who’s former function should be obvious!chanticleer tennis court gardens

The flat area that used to function as the court has been turned into a group of five beds filled with all sorts of interesting plants.  My favorite was this one which leans towards a yellow theme.  A redbud with yellowish foliage anchors the bed and a nice clump of the tall variegated arundo donax grass is peeking out from behind.  For a late season garden it still looks good.

chanticleer tennis court gardenThere was plenty going on around the garden with cleanup and cutting back,  I don’t know how it is on other weekdays but during my visit the place was buzzing with garden staff.  Here’s another view with a nice banana, some of the annual purple perillia, and a couple of those dead looking brown sedges.  Grasses and sedges seem well used around Chanticleer and they do add long season airiness and texture. chanticleer bananas and perillia

Beyond the courts is the cutting garden.  The Chanticleer interpretation is more like a wild ocean of frothy flowers, some of which top out at over 10 feet!  A cool garden to wander through since it comes in on you from all sides.  You can just make out the asparagus hedge that closes in the right side here.chanticleer cutting garden

A little structure in this garden is given by the archways.  I’m stealing this idea since it’s not tough to copy.  A rebar arch forms the basis while vines and branches are twisted around…. since I already have the rebar arch set up, no problem-o on twisting some twigs around!chanticleer garden arch

The tall orange sunflower-ish plants are the annual tithonia.  It’s supposed to be easy from seed but I’ve never had much luck.  It sure did well here though.

This path leads to a small fenced in vegetable garden, a nice little spot to take a breather on one of the vegetable themed benches.  For as wild and bloomy as the cutting garden is, there were still a ton of late bloomers left to come, so I bet this garden comes to a peak in about another month…. in case you’re still considering a visit!chanticleer arch and vegetable garden

A relaxer next.  A woodland section called Bell’s Woods is a streamside collection of North American plantings.  Even though it probably peaks in the spring there were still plenty of cardinal flowers (lobelia cardinalis) in bloom.  It’s a nice soft stroll since the “wood path”  is actually a soft rubber mat that looks like wood chips…. or at least that’s what I read… even after being told, I still thought they looked like shredded bark!chanticleer cardinal flower (lobelia)

Throughout the gardens are bits of functional art such as chairs, railings, and this metal “hollow log” bridge.chanticleer log bridge

Even though Chanticleer is a relatively small garden and heavily planted, there are still plenty of restful areas, many of which have a nice seat and an excuse to linger.chanticleer reflecting pond

And nearly all are somehow color coordinated!chanticleer red seat

Around the red chair you can see some clumps of prairie dropseed.  It’s a native grass used as a kind of lawn replacement for many of the open areas beyond Bell’s Wood.  It’s also probably my least favorite of the plantings here since I just can’t get past what Wikipedia refers to as a “vague scent of popcorn, cilantro, or sunflower seeds”.  I just call it stink, and forgive me if we skip this and the ruins garden and head straight to the gravel garden.chanticleer gravel garden

The gravel garden is a very un-Pennsylvania bit of sloped, well-draining garden that is filled with plants better suited to a more Mediterranean type environment.  It’s a bit of surprise to see hardy cacti, yuccas, and agaves this far north, but apparently they like the winter drainage.

The gravel garden tumbles down to the antithesis of good drainage, the pond garden.chanticleer waterlily pond I love a nice pond (unlike my pathetic leaky pre-formed) and this one is just surrounded with a nearly wild planting of moisture loving growth.  Well fed Koi are always fun too.chanticleer koi

chanticleer pink waterlilyI loved the pond gardens.  If I had more room a big waterlily pond would be near the top of the want list.  Waterlilies are just so saturated with color, so waxy and lush, that they just draw you in.  This one was nice and close to the pond edge.

My want list also got a new plant added.  This yellow hollyhock looking plant is abelmoschus manihot, an annual that I eliminated from a seed order last winter and now wish I hadn’t.  It’s sometimes referred to as sunset hibiscus, but it’s actually a close okra relative… that means nothing to a Yankee like myself, but southerners may weigh in on that!chanticleer abelmoschus manihot

I think I’m about to overdo the pictures here, but there was so much to see.  The bottom pond was given over nearly entirely to sacred lotus.  Lotus is so cool in the way the leaves stand up above the water, the oversize leaves and blooms, the water beading leaf surface, the shower head seed pods….  You know if I had the room I’d grow this one too!chanticleer lotus pond

Asian woods next.  Restful and green…. too many pictures already so I’ll move on!chanticleer asian woods

chanticleer art waterfountainI was a little thirsty and just had to stop at this.  Every little bit of this garden is thought out and then re-thought out and it shows up in all the little flourishes and details.

My last stop on the Chanticleer tour was a stroll around the terraces of the main house.  If you thought this post was picture overkill there’s still more to come.  The terraces contain all the stuff I really go for like bold colors, overplanted beds, fat container plantings, and tons of tropicals.  Hang in there, it’s the last Chanticleer post! chanticleer terrace

Chanticleer 2013

Last Thursday I made a trip down to Chanticleer Gardens, a “pleasure garden” located just West of Philadelphia PA.  I’m glossing over much of the history, but basically it’s the 1913 former summer estate turned full time home of Adolph Rosengarten and his wife Christine.  As family members passed away and moved on the Chanticleer Foundation was formed and the property became a public garden.  This year marked the 100th anniversary for the property, but the public incarnation is still relatively young, having been formed in 1993.  I don’t have many garden visits under my belt, but Chanticleer ranks as one of the best public gardens in the US and I could really see the reasons why.

Here we go!  After a drive of just under two hours, please excuse me for making the restrooms my first stop.attractive courtyard at chanticleer

Even the restrooms are a plant lover’s treat with unique varieties, creative uses and just plain artistic furniture and pottery.  I had plenty of room for myself since the hot, muggy, overcast weekday didn’t really bring out a stampede of garden visitors.  Good thing too, since I made the trip alone and my stupid grin and plant touching probably would have had me escorted out on a crowded day.

The first official garden was the ‘teacup’ garden.  It fills the patio right off the house and I love all the gate and bench details leading into it.chanticleer courtyard gate

The teacup garden is named for the central fountain.  Each year this garden is redone with a totally different feel and this year seems to be leaning towards an orange theme.chanticleer teacup garden

There are so many special plants here, and orange never looked better.  Many of these are tropicals and if you look closely you might notice the upright orange leaves producing a small pink pineapple near the front.   chanticleer teacup garden

There’s so much texture and subtle color going on.  One of the many plants I loved was this melianthus (honeybush).  I feel a little foolish for letting my little 6 inch seed grown plant die outside last winter, had I seen the real thing first I probably would have found a winter home for it.melianthus honey bush

I don’t think I could have found a spot for this big pot of variegated New Zealand flax.chanticleer potted new zealand flax

Few of the plants have labels in this ‘pleasure garden’, it really is meant to be enjoyed, but I did scare myself realizing how many things I recognized…. apparently I spend way too much time on the web looking at plants….

Check out the railing here -and the container plantings aren’t too shabby either.  The banana growing up alongside the house is the (I think) surprisingly hardy musa basjoo which even I can even overwinter in my much colder zone.  The tall white variegated grass (arundo donax) is also hardy.  I have both in my own garden, of course they look nowhere near as well grown or well placed 🙂chanticleer artistic railing

Continuing around the house are beds just flooded with cool tropicals and hardy perennials.  Here’s number two cool plant leaf that I want, it’s the rice paper plant (tetrapanax).  Big leaves that start out fuzzy, what’s not to love?chanticleer rice paper plant tetrapanax

More foliage along the path.   I have no idea, but the yellow veins of it matched the ivy creeping along the ground.  Fancy.  You can also see some of the many seats scattered around the grounds.  In my opinion gardens are always best viewed from a comfortable seat!chanticleer path

Here’s another nice seating area.chanticleer seating area

I believe the three dark green plants along the walk are samples of the infamous breadfruit tree.  Maybe it’s just the result of a few too many childhood viewings of “Mutiny on the Bounty” (The 1962 Marlon Brando version) but I think this food staple of the Pacific is a fascinating plant.  This plant was the reason Captain Bligh was commissioned to sail to Tahiti in the first place, and this is also the plant thrown overboard when the mutiny takes place.  chanticleer variegated boston fernBesides Captain Bligh’s survival story, the story of the mutineers and their descendants on tiny Pitcairn island is also quite a tale.  They still live on today as a British territory.

Less contentious is the yellow-green underplanting of variegated boston fern, hakonechloa grass, and others.  I’ve heard people say you shouldn’t mix variegated plants, but here I think that theory expires.

Oh, and if all that’s not enough, the glass topped table is actually a terrarium 🙂chanticleer seat with terarrium

Ok, so that might be enough for today since WordPress has locked up twice and both times I had to redo what was lost.  Next stop is the former tennis courts….. tennis has never looked so good.

More snowdrops from the Temple Nursery

Here’s the second installment of photos from our visit to Hitch Lyman’s garden.  These pictures are all taken on the bank of earth that lined the one side of the driveway leading up to the house.  The drops (and a few other things such as cyclamen coum) seemed happy on the slope, even though there didn’t seem to be much in the way of soil improvement or mulching or any other tinkering with the planting area.  But I don’t know that for sure, all I know is there were plenty of nice looking galanthus and even in the cold weather they were a hopeful sign of spring.

galanthus sickle

Cyclamen coum and Galanthus ‘Sickle’ looking somewhat chilly

galanthus Warham

Galanthus ‘Warham’

I’ve always been a big fan of snowdrops.  When the first warm days of spring rolled around I’d always make a point of swinging by the yards and parks where I knew there were a couple growing.  Although they were one of my favorite flowers, when I tried growing them in my parent’s garden they  never really settled in.  They just hung on.

The ones at the Temple Nursery seem to be doing much better.  If you’re curious as to snowdrop names, a mouse hovering over the photo will hopefully show their identity.  In this photo, the one on the right is galanthus “Sophie North” and it was one of my favorites.  The blooms were big and fat and at this point when they’re still tucked in by the foliage I think they’re perfect.

galanthus sophie north and sentinel

Galanthus ‘Sophie North’ on the right and ‘Sentinel’ to the left

This was my first opportunity to see a lot of named snowdrops in the flesh, and it may have made a snowdrop snob out of me.  I’m beginning to pick up on  the variations and differences.  Here’s “Spindlestone Surprise” which even an amateur like me can pick out as being different from the usual green-whiteness.

galanthus spindlestone surprise

Galanthus ‘Spindlestone Surprise’

yellow snowdrop

Yellow snowdrop

But I still can’t tell too many of them apart (and never with any certainty unless there’s a label stuck right next to it).  Here’s another yellow, and although there was a “Wendy’s Gold” label nearby, I don’t see much of a difference between this and the other yellow.

I may be drifting into snowdrop-snobbery but I still think I’ll be fine with just a couple.  Fyi they’re on order for shipment this spring.

Here are the last few pictures.   “Lodestar” shows a little green even when closed, and the blooms splay out a bit instead of having the round drop shape.

galanthus lodestar

Galanthus ‘Lodestar’

Wasp has a longer narrow bloom, looking a little sad in the cold.

galanthus wasp

The long wing-like petals of Galanthus ‘Wasp’

galanthus naughton

Galanthus ‘Naughton’

I think this is Naughton. I really like the fat blooms, no green showing, and the curled Pedicle (or at least I think that’s what you call the green thing over the bloom.





Not to leave things on a down note, but some snowdrops looked like they took a hit from the cold.  Here’s “Lord Monosticus”, and it appears the blooms got more than their fair share of winter cold.  I’ve had this happen in my garden with some of the earliest ones, and they recover fine for next season, but it’s sad to see.  This one was actually on my short list for ordering.  I’d like a real early one, but maybe it’s not worth the stress.

galanthus lord monostictus

Galanthus ‘Lord Monostictus’ after a rough spring

So that’s it for the snowdrops, I guess they’re not everyone’s “thing” but I kinda like them.  Also there’s not much else going on here as another 4 inches of snow comes down……

Snowdrops and snow

First days of spring come and go but for me a major turning point is the first garden tour.  Saturday was the day, and a friend and I headed up to Trumansburg NY to visit Hitch Lyman’s garden and his collection of snowdrops and other early bloomers.  I won’t bore you with the details of the “should be a 2hr drive” but the clock put it at closer to 4 hours and I’m sure that was due in a large part to not having a map, not really paying attention to directions, and having a co-pilot with a lot of new stories to share.  So we got there a bit later than planned, got to see a little more of the country side, and got to see a few more cities than we should have.  At least we didn’t end up in Canada is all I’ll add.

A snowdrop visit to upstate New York in below freezing weather and amidst snow qualls isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time.  Most of the garden is still asleep and when you pull up it’s more the house you notice, and less so the gardens.

The house at Temple gardens

The house at Temple Gardens

This open day was organized by the Garden Conservancy and according to their description the 1848 farmhouse was moved to the site in 1990.  What a job that must have been, and I’m going to guess it needed a bit of restoration when it got here.  On our side trip to reach Trumansburg, we came down rte 414 from Geneva Falls and experienced first-hand some other “in need of renovating” historical houses.  Some fascinating buildings, almost kind of ghost-towny in spots, and I’m going to make another guess that the local economy can’t support the upkeep on these grand old houses.  So they sit and slowly decay.

Back to the garden.  As you can see from the house photo most of the front acreage is naturalized fields with a few specimen plantings here and there.  The drive up to the house is also a mix of naturalized shrubs and trees, but along both sides are banks of earth spotted with all kinds of treasures.

hardy cyclamen and snowdrops

A sloped bank of hardy cyclamen and various snowdrops

The snow and cold had many of them lying down but there was still plenty to see.  We checked in for our visit and headed around the house.  Plantings close to the building were pretty subdued and actually the direct opposite of what most gardeners do.  I put all the little stuff right up around the house, but here the only plantings were a raised terrace with a planted fieldstone sitting area.

winter aconite terrace

The terrace out back

I’ve seen springtime pictures from this vantage point, and the white wisteria and crabapples make for a much more lush view than the current frozen winter aconite among the paving.

temple gardens

Around back is the namesake temple for Mr. Lyman’s Temple Nursery…. snowdrops are the specialty in case you missed that.

Behind the temple you can make out the dark green of the yew and boxwood that surround the formal garden.  I didn’t get any pictures inside the garden, but it’s a formal layout of geometric planting beds filled with lilac, peonies, colchicums, hellebores, and of course snowdrops and other spring bulbs.

yew formal garden

The formal garden entrance

Deer seemed to be a problem outside the hedge and protective fence, with plenty of nibbled and buck rubbed shrubs, but once inside there were many signs of spring… in spite of my freezing fingers and cold toes.

helleborus niger

Some early Lenten roses (Helleborus niger) in the formal garden beds

galanthus jade

Galanthus ‘Jade’

Of course there were snowdrops(here’s “Jade”), but the bulk of the snowdrops were in the next (and last) section of the garden.  The woodland garden was furthest from the house and consisted of a narrow path that wound its way through the secondary growth of trees and shrubs that lined the back field.

Here’s how the path looked.

woodland path

The carefully marked woodland path, lined with snowdrops.

There were small clumps of drops everywhere and I was nervous to even use the outer edges of the trail since many clumps edged up to the path.  For a snowdrop fan there was interest galore…. for a non-snowdrop person I suspect they would want someone to widen the path, throw down some mulch, and pick up a few of the fallen twigs.

snowdrop woodland

An authentic snowdrop woodland peppered with clumps of named snowdrop varieties

Here are a few clump closeups from the woodland area.

galanthus nivalis sandersii

Galanthus nivalis sandersii

galanthus diggory

Galanthus ‘Diggory’

galanthus lapwing

Galanthus ‘Lapwing’

galanthus R D Nutt

Galanthus ‘R D Nutt’


double snowdrop

Unlabeled double snowdrop










I’ve got a few more pictures taken of the bank along the driveway but I think I’ll save them for another post.  For now I’ll leave you with some interior shots of the temple (it’s not just for show!).  After losing all sensation in my fingertips, we allowed ourselves a break inside by the temple fire.

Hitch Lyman garden

Warming up in front of the fireplace at the Lyman garden.

I hope we weren’t crossing any poor-garden-conduct boundaries by going inside, but the door was slightly ajar and the fire was so inviting.  Plus by then we were freezing, and a passing snow squall wasn’t helping matters much.  As we were looking around and considering building our own garden temples, I saw this above the door and had the feeling we were just as welcome here as we had been in the rest of the garden.

lyman temple garden

Inside details of the temple

Thanks for having us Mr. Lyman.