August 5th, 2013
We’re all at the mercy of the weather, especially gardeners. Even P. Allen Smith and his garden at Moss Mountain Farm is at the mercy of Mother Nature.
Remember that beautiful film scene in the Keanu Reeves movie A Walk in the Clouds where all the workers frantically build fires and dance with fans between the grape vines? A killing frost has descended on the valley and they are trying to keep the vines and grapes from serious damage. They end up saving the crop and romance was born.
Most of us don’t have dozens of dedicated field workers to battle the earth-cracking drought, biblical-proportioned floods or the weird, unseasonable weather that, strangely, seems to come about every other season. We just suffer along and accept that we are partners with nature in the creation of a garden. Sometimes our partner is our friend. Sometimes our partner is our enemy.
When 25 or so bloggers visited P. Allen Smith’s garden overlooking the Arkansas River Valley, it was during this year’s unseasonably cool spring. Huge swaths of the South and Mid-Atlantic had been blanketed under some weird pressure system that fooled our flowers and vegetables into thinking it was March rather than May. As we were squired around the 650-acre estate, more than one of Moss Mountain Farm tour guides rushed to explain, “It’s been so cool, everything is behind in blooming!”
Of course, there was nothing to explain since most of us on the tour had gardens at home that were similarly tardy. But even more, everything was perfectly lovely and there were plenty of blooms to admire.
(Is it more appropriate to say there is a garden or there are gardens?)
When you have 650 acres, there are many very separate and distinct areas.
There is the vegetable garden, expansive enough to grow food for a small city. There are two rose gardens. There are perennial gardens and annuals and a daffodil field and pond gardens and terrace gardens.
(Well, that settles it. Gardens.)
Indeed, plants there in Arkansas did seem to be a bit behind what you might expect for May. Nevertheless, it was a lovely garden stroll and I expect it would also be lovely in the fall and even in the dead of winter—just a different kind of lovely.
Posted In: Gardening
April 12th, 2013
I heard that lovely “beep…beep…beep” sound today that I associate with spring. No, it wasn’t a bird call. It was Chris, my UPS driver backing up after dropping off two big boxes of flower bulbs for my Maryland garden.
Spring! I love to walk around with the little dogs and see the garden awake.
I snapped my annual shot of a cute Papillion next to the young, flowering yoshino cherry tree. This year’s supermodel is Sarah.
The mixed daffodil bulbs are up and blooming by the driveway and near the hay field. There is a house I pass on the way to town with thousands of daffodils—all of the same variety. It’s quite a display. But I love the mix of all the different types of daffodils all mingled together. You can’t see them in this photo, but there are bunches of little muscari bulbs mingled among the daffs.
The edgeworthia that began blooming several months ago will soon be losing its flowers. This is a shrub that goes the extra mile with all-season interest. You can just see the flowering quince that’s about to burst forth in the background.
And speaking of plants with staying power, I love this lettuce mix that made it through the winter! But sadly, it is now chicken food since it is bitter. No worries though. I have a whole new crop of spinach and lettuce planted in the potager garden.
This year I am all about containers. The pansies and ornamental oregano make nice early spring transition plants. But I have big, big, big plans this year for containers!
Posted In: Gardening