On Saturday morning we made our way to Grafton, MA. Two members of our group live within walking distance of each other in this quiet former mill town just southeast of Worcester. Little did we know but a full day of activities had been lined up for our garden touring pleasure.
First stop: Mapel Plants. John Mapel owns a garden design/maintenance firm located in Grafton. For a month or so every spring he sells plants from a small greenhouse on a property which is also his home. After cleaning him out of a bit of inventory, we took a quick look at his personal garden. Below is a picture of the water feature and courtyard located just outside the front door of his very charming cottage.
From Mapel Plants we next visited Brigham Hill Farm, a local estate garden also located in Grafton. What a place! Acres of well maintained gardens and beautiful vistas. On July 20th, Brigham Hill Farm will be open as part of the Garden Conservancy Worcester Area Open Days. If you happen to be in the area, it's definitely worth a look-see.
No gardencentric trip to central Massachusetts would be complete without a trip to Tower Hill Botanic Garden. In January I posted about the conservatories at Tower Hill HERE. By June the party has totally moved outside. Unfortunately (probably due to our unusually wet, cool spring this year) most of the tropicals had not yet been placed in the outdoor beds and containers. However, it was a gorgeous day to eat lunch on the newly renovated outdoor terrace in Twigs Cafe and stroll the outdoor garden areas.
Back in Grafton, we got a rare glimpse of our friend, Denise's garden. Unlike the many of us who shamelessly flaunt our gardens through a variety of online venues, Denise is much more restrained. Maybe she's just up to her ass in alligators and doesn't have time for garden pursuits. Whatever the reason, she has a naturalized area of lupines in one of her gardens that rivals any I've seen by the roadsides in northern New England. Lupine season was coming to an end but I wish I'd gotten a better picture.
After a short stroll down a side street and we arrive at Lisa's. Lisa had gone ahead to prepare a dessert of fresh berries with creme fraiche to enjoy on her deck. In addition to growing tropicals and designing container combos, Lisa also enjoys creating interesting garden vignettes. Oh, and in her spare time, she casts and paints beautiful concrete leaves.
After the hour or so drive home, Brenda and I toasted the opening of the big fountain on my patio with Dark 'n Stormys. Only eight more days of this frivolity to go...
On Sunday we set out for orchard country in South Glastonbury to enjoy breakfast with a view at Rose's Berry Farm. Food is just OK but breakfast is only served on Sundays from June through October on an outdoor covered deck. For something different, it's worth the trip.
After breakfast I actually got to spend a much needed hour or two spiffing up my own garden. Then it was off for a visit and garden tour at friends, Monique and Les. On the way we stopped at a Garden Conservancy Open Day garden. I took no pictures at the open garden but I took plenty at Monique and Les's. Last fall I posted about their garden HERE. This time I remembered my real camera.
Always the consummate hosts, Monique and Les treated us to a luscious alfresco meal on their deck. Good friends, food, wine and gardens. It doesn't get much better than that. Seven more days of frivolity to go...
Monday morning came early. We were off to coastal southern Maine for a visit to friend Liz at "The Compound". The Compound is a beautiful piece of property located on a scenic shore road.
Liz is an extremely talented and accomplished seamstress who after working for others many years recently decided to go into business for herself. A lifetime resident of New England (like me), Liz sports a rather dry sense of humor (also like me). After a tour of her gardens and woodland, we were treated to a delicious and lavish lunch on the lawn, peek at her home studio and a stroll across the road to some of the finest views on earth.
|Disclaimer: No Idyllers was harmed in the taking of this picture.|
Time with Liz passed in a flash. Our next stop was in Nashua, NH at friend, Deanne's where we would be treated to yet another fabulous meal and spend the night. Among other things, Deanne is an incredibly talented photographer. My pictures will never do her garden justice. For a better feel, check out her blog, Fortnam Gardens. If you're in the area, Deanne's garden will be open through the Garden Conservancy Open Days the weekend of July 13-14. I plan to be a docent in Deanne's garden on that Saturday.
Could there only be six more days of this frivolity to go?
Tuesday was my day. Friend Kathy (Gardenbook) arrived from Napa and I hosted a kickoff party. As luck would have it, a couple of hours before my party it rained harder than I've seen it rain in many years. As I watched rivers run across the patio and mulch float out of my garden beds and onto the lawn, I knew I would have to activate Plan B and move the party indoors. Although I was disappointed, everyone appeared to have a great time which is really what matters. Maybe next time I plan a garden party it won't rain but if history is any indication I'm screwed.
If you made it to the end of this post, I applaud your persistence. Obviously there is more to come but this just seemed like the natural breaking point.
To close I just want to say how fortunate I feel to have become a part of a group of such amazing people, some who have become my closest friends. Our love of gardening brought us together and has kept us together but the friendships forged through the years transcend beyond the garden. May you all be as lucky with any axe murderers and serial killers you happen to meet online.
Only five more days of frivolity to go...