Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

A Wowser of a Garden

For me, going away on a trip in the middle of the gardening season is always a hassle. It totally ruins whatever momentum I've built up for gardening projects as well as the rhythm of writing blog posts. I have to suddenly put on the brakes, change gears, pack a bag, sit for however many hours in a crowded, flying tin can and become a social creature for 4 or 5 days, and then once again sit on a flying tin can and come back to what seems like a completely different garden, that has moved on and changed bewilderingly in just those few days. Every year I do it and every year I vow not to do it again.

Almost a month ago I went to visit my son and his girlfriend, and it was a wonderful trip, but I've been struggling to get my gardening and blogging mojo back ever since. Part of my problem with blogging is that once I've stopped, I have a hard time starting again because I feel like I have to go back to where I stopped in time, which was way back at the beginning of May, when I went to the Heronswood Plant Sale. I need to get my head out of this linear thinking that it's stuck in.


I'm just going to jump in and show you something I did recently that excited and wowed me. I visited the garden of Sherri Wilson, which was open as part of the NPA's Open Gardens Program.

Here's what Sherri had to say about her garden in the Program Booklet: "The garden is close to two acres, with many unusual plants in mixed borders. There is also a greenhouse made from vintage windows, a 'tiki hut,' chicken coop, boxwood parterre, pebble mosaic, etc. The veggie beds have been converted to a 'color wheel' cutting garden, with a grain augur fountain in the center."

This is a very modestly and succinctly stated description of a masterful, fabulous, exuberant, plant-loving gardener's garden that made me want to cry for joy and longing.

A circular driveway leads you into the garden and mysteriously shows you very little of it other than several entries to the left in the photo below.

A lineup of pots on the other side of the driveway -- if you peer closely, you can just barely make out the dark shape of my car in center top parked on the grass

I decided to enter beside the tiki hut.

What a great space to explore, a former barn now full of little treasures and vignettes

The other side of the tiki hut once you enter the garden proper

I'm not quite sure what the figure is, but I love it sitting in the middle of this sea of golden Hakone grass

Across a paved area kitty corner from the tiki hut is the greenhouse made of vintage windows, with its winter residents now arrayed outside in all their glory.

Could this spiky devil be Aloe marlothii?

Quercus dentada 'Pinnatifida' living in a pot

Euphorbia trigona?

Oh yes, and the greenhouse where all those plants overwinter? Here's the long view.

Let's peek inside.

Yes, it is.

It's time to look around the garden.

Sneaky Euphorbia flower

Pineapple broom

The house is in there somewhere

I love that primitive skull

This figure waits by the fence near the house

A fern table that Sherri had just put together using gabions from Old Goat Farm just a few days previous

Augur fountain in the center of the raised veggie beds that have been converted to a cutting garden

Tiger swallowtail butterfly stayed still long enough for a capture on my phone camera

A shady path leads into another area of the garden

Schefflera as tall as me in a newly planted bed

The garden contains some wonderful foliage combos and color echoes, as mature plants blend into each other.

Barberry and some kind of threadleaf conifer, I think

The rich red of Cirsium rivulare atropurpurea works well with the Cotinus foliage behind it

Big leaves, small leaves, toothed, thready, coniferous...a glorious mish-mash

Hakone grass and Hosta -- a classic for a reason

A mottled Podophyllum and the red splodge on Persicaria is a great match

I was halfway around Sherri's garden for the first time (I went around twice) when I breathed a heavy sigh -- that combination of longing and appreciation as I wondered if my own garden would ever achieve such a great depth of maturity. Of course it helps that Sherri has nearly two acres to play with. My photos could not do it justice.

Thank you so much, Sherri, for opening your garden to visitors and for taking the time to show me around.

See my blogging buddy Peter The Outlaw Gardener's 2015 post about Sherri's garden here.

See also the great photography of my blogging friend Tatyana's 2015 visit to Sherri's garden here.