Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Mothers Day Outing to Monticello

 Our Mothers Day trip to Monticello, beloved home of the third President of the USA, Thomas Jefferson, took place a week late. Nevertheless, the gardens were magnificent so if you are not into photographs of gardens you might as well quit now.

 From the west lawn, Jefferson's favorite aspect of his home, you get an early glimpse of the bountiful display currently made by the larkspur and poppies. I have to assume they self-seed as they are plentiful throughout the entire flower and vegetable garden areas just now.
 Glorious color to set off the carefully designed building.
 These are also poppies but not a type I have seen before. Check out the leaves. Do you know what they are?
 This one bloom was almost too perfect to be natural don't you think? Poppies are an enduring love of mine; I collect patterns to make wallquilts featuring them and regard them as an icon of my heritage because of my dad's service in WWII and my grandpop's service in WWI.
We went on  the tour inside the house but no photographs are allowed. Later we went on the garden tour and that was the favorite part of our outing. This view is from the vegetable garden (yes, those poppies are everywhere!) looking towards the textile shops which are currently closed for refurbishment.

Each year Jefferson had a competition with his next door neighbor to see who could have the first peas of the season. Apparently the neighbor usually won. Many different varieties of peas are grown in the huge vegetable garden of today. We had to be strong to resist the desire to pluck just one of these pods to try them. Fresh peas picked straight from the garden and immediately eaten bring back memories of visiting my grandpop's garden when I was a child and thought this was a great treat.

More poppies and larkspur in the vegetable garden area looking up towards the storehouse for iron.
In case you thought there wasn't actually a vegetable garden...here's a more distant view. Jefferson had this small pavilion built so he could go sit and enjoy the views of his estate. We learned that he like to sit in the pavilion in the early evening.
 The west lawn is bordered with a  winding walk bordered on both sides for much of the way by flower beds. The gardeners of today try to use the same methods that were employed in Jefferson's time and here we see the use of twigs to support the sweet peas. You'll note the same method was used for the edible peas in the vegetable garden. And, correct me if I am wrong, the foxgloves in the foreground are making a pretty sight.
 I was reminded of flowers I have had in previous gardens many times during the visit. The rose campions in the foreground grew well in my garden in New Jersey and seem to like the climate up here on the small mountain outside Charlottesville. I wonder how they would fare in the humidity of my Northern Virginia garden?
 Tucked away in a corner area out of sight of the buildings is Jefferson's grave and the family cemetery. This is still a family cemetery in use by Jefferson's descendants and is enclosed, for privacy, in a tall metal fence.
I had planned to end your tour at the cemetery but the beauty of these simple flowers so captivated me I had to give you just one more shot.

It was a lovely outing despite the somewhat grey sky and cooler temperature. Back home I am full of disdain for the weeds which are currently flourishing in my own garden and very eager to get out there, weed, tidy and plant flowers for the summer. But the weather has other ideas and rainy days are forecast for the next few days. Perhaps there's time to plan and go out and see if I can source some rose campion and/or poppies.

How grows your garden?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

From My Spring Garden

 The Easter bunny made an advance visit around the same time as the bluebells on April 12. My garden must be in a cold spot as I notice my blooms are several days behind others in the area.
 The blue muscari looked good this year and they are echoed in color by the backup of the bluebells.
 Continuing the blue theme I wondered why this chickadee was clinging to the front of the bird house. It never did tell me why but it hung there for several minutes.
 By April 17 the dogwoods were looking pretty and there was a smattering of blue blooms from the vinca groundcover below.
 Like the cherry trees, the dogwood blossoms seem to change color somewhat as they age.
 The early morning sun cutting through the backyard does make for pretty views. The strong wind we have had for much of the month makes it hard to get good clear photos. Oh well.
 Lilac season in my back garden began on the 27th. Last season we pruned the lilac out front but I guess we did it too late because it had no blooms at all this season.
 Following close on the heels of the lilac blooms was the purple clematis out front.
 It has a glorious display this year.
 This one is a different sort of periwinkle (vinca) than the groundcover under the dogwoods.
 The humble volunteer daisies are allowed in my garden.
Rounding out the month was another clematis.

And there you have it - a brief look at my April garden.