Northampton Garden Tour – June 10, 2017

  • Post published:June 9, 2017

It is Garden Tour season! So many gardens to see, to enjoy and to learn from. It could be said that every garden is designed around the flaws – I mean challenges - of the site. E. Bruce Brooks and his wife Taeko stood with me in front of his Northampton house and garden and we looked up at the tall brick building. “Our design aims to minimize the too tall house that sits on a too small…

Bridge of Flowers – a Public Garden, a Public Joy

  • Post published:May 12, 2016

May 6th was American Public Gardens Day, but the American Public Gardens Association (AGPA) says official festivities continue right through Mother’s Day. The Bridge of Flowers, possibly our most notable local public garden, will not have any special festivities, but the community enjoys the festive and floriferous atmosphere every day from April 1 to October 30. The APGA defines a public garden as one “that maintains collections of plants for the purposes of public education and enjoyment, in…

Zinnias in Space

  • Post published:January 25, 2016

While browsing the web for information about plant hunter Augustine Henry I found a Daily Telegraph story about zinnias in space - space horticulture!  Major Tim Peake, the UK's first astronaut has coaxed a zinnia into bloom in a micro-gravity environment. The seeds were planted by NASA's Scott Kelly as part of VEG-O1 to see what plants might grow in this environment.  Lettuce was planted - harvested and eaten by the crew of the International Space Station earlier this…

Chinese and Japanese Gardens at the Huntington

  • Post published:October 12, 2015

  In my youth I thought Chinese and Japanese gardens were very similar. Over the years I have learned how wrong I was. Both concentrate on bringing the gardener – and visitors – into nature. With the Chinese it is a wilder nature, intended for strolling, visiting and sharing with friends. For the Japanese the garden is more stylized with carefully pruned trees and shrubs that can be admired from inside a sheltered spot. There are many ways…

Made in the Shade Garden

  • Post published:September 12, 2015

Julie Abramson now lives with a graceful shade garden, but it was not always so. Like so many of us, Julie never had much interest in her mother’s garden when she was young, but over the years she has tended three very different gardens of her own. Her first garden in Albany was cheerful. “I was inexperienced, but this garden was very floriferous. I knew nothing about trees and shrubs,” she told me as we sat admiring her…

Forbes Library Garden Tour – June 13, 2015

  • Post published:June 12, 2015

Virginia Rechtschaffen has always loved trees. She and her husband Rob even once owned a house in Belchertown that came complete with an orchard. Lots of trees. For the past 20 years she and Rob have lived in Northampton and accomplished something I would have thought impossible. Their in-town garden is embraced by a ring of large trees with a heart of sunshine at its center. How did they do it? Virginia said when they moved into the…

Bridge of Flowers in August

  • Post published:August 29, 2014

I was walking across the Bridge of Flowers this morning and it is clear this is high Dahlia season. I don't know the names of these varieties, but I am going to look through the  Swan Island Dahlia catalog and see if I can get names for some of these. Some dahlias have a more tender hue. China Doll is a dahlia that everyone loves. Dahlias come in so many forms and sizes. Do you think 'Shaggy' is…

The Bridge of Flowers and The Art Garden

  • Post published:July 21, 2014

The Bridge of Flowers is a miracle of bloom right now. High summer. The dahlias are just beginning to join the phlox, daylilies, cimicifuga, crocosmia and all manner of daisies. But there is another way to enjoy the Bridge of Flowers. Follow the Shoes for the monthly Art Walk in Shelburne Falls. The various artisans and galleries like Molly Cantor Pottery and the Salmon Falls Artisans Gallery were displaying the talents and skills of many of our area…

Mary Lyon Church Garden Tour – July 19, 2014

  • Post published:July 19, 2014

Garden tour season continues! The MaryLyonChurch garden tour is scheduled for Saturday, July 19 from 10 am to 4 pm and includes seven gardens in Buckland and two gardens in West Hawley. I had the good fortune to visit Shirley Scott and Joe Giard’s garden ahead of time. This has one of the most challenging sites I have ever seen for a garden. The main challenge of her site has been the very steep slope to the left…

A Paradise Garden in Turners Falls

  • Post published:June 20, 2014

Ed McAvoy (88) and Lynn Hoffman ('nearly 90') are peeking into their paradise garden in Turners Falls. When Lynn and Ed built their little suite in the house belonging to Ed's daughter, they knew they had to have a garden. When I saw it I was reminded that the word paradise originally came from the old Persian word for a walled compound. This small walled garden shows that paradise can exist at any size. There is room for…