Beatrix Farrand

  • Post published:03/29/2010
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Probably the first thing I knew about Beatrix Farrand is that she was the niece of Edith Wharton, and designed the approach to Wharton's home, The Mount,  in the Berkshires.  Although she did not have anything to do with  the rest of the gardens, I cannot believe that Aunt and Niece did not sit together and talk about what might be done during the years she lived there, 1902-1911. When you have talent in the family, surely it would be…

Driven to Spring

  • Post published:03/27/2010
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The Boston Flower Show is back!  There were flowers everywhere, in all kinds of arrangements and gardens. There was also a lot of water - a pond like this one with a stone 'lily pad' that appeared to float on the water. The pond was surrounded by azaleas, conifers and bulbs. I may have to do a whole posting about water in fountains and streams. There were flower arrangements like this simple vase of brilliant tulips for a…

Flowers and More Flowers

  • Post published:03/22/2010
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What a weekend. While I am waiting for the snow to melt I had a glorious weekend thinking about - and looking at flowers! On Saturday I got to meet Kerry Mendez, the spirited, humorous and knowledgeable keynote speaker at the Master Gardener's Spring Symposium on Saturday. She engaged the audience in lively conversation and talked about how to have a successful flower garden- choose the right plant for the right site - and gave great design tips.  Fortunately, if…

As Beautiful as the Day

  • Post published:03/21/2010
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Daylilies are as beautiful as the day, and come in all the colors of the day, pale pink dawns, watery yellows of a sunshower, brilliant golds of noon, and all the ruddy shades of  sunset. Richard Willard who grows about 500 daylilies at Silver Garden Daylilies says that when people think about orange daylilies they think of the common roadside variety, and “yet there are beautiful big orange daylilies with seven inch blossoms that you can see from…


  • Post published:03/17/2010
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Some people count the beginning of spring when farmers start sugaring. Up here in Heath the Berkshire Sweet Gold folks have been hard at it for a couple of weeks, but the snow is still deep in the fields and in the woods. It hasn't looked like spring. Hasn't felt like spring. But today the temperatures rose into the 50s and the sun was bright. I stopped at the Greenfield Farmers Coop for some potting soil and admired…

Reading and Planning

  • Post published:02/28/2010
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I am still in the middle of reading and planning season. Two very different books have sent my imagination into high gear. Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars: Grandma’s Bag of Tricks by Sharon Lovejoy  ($14.95 Workman Publishing) is ostensibly for grandmas, but among the 130 activities described and illustrated with engaging photos and charming drawings, many will engage mommies and daddies as well. The opening chapter, Preparing Camp Granny, gives advice about welcoming a visiting grandchild so that…

My Friend Elsa

  • Post published:02/13/2010
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Elsa Bakalar was my friend. This morning I got the call that I had been dreading. Elsa passed away peacefully on January 29. We moved to Heath in December of 1979, but I did not meet Elsa, who also lived in Heath until I began writing a weekly garden column, Between the Rows, for The Recorder. I had heard about Elsa and her garden and finally got up my courage to ask her for an interview. It must…

The Gardener’s Color Palette

  • Post published:02/12/2010
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Tom Fischer, Editor in Chief of Timber Press, has created a small, inexpensive book with more than 100 gorgeous photographs by Clive Nichols of 100 plants in the ranges of 10 colors - scarlet, orange, lime, blue, mahogany, and more! My garden, full of roses as it is, is heavy on pink, but when I look through this book I can't help imagining a color themed garden.  Lots of people have blue and white gardens, which are easy…

Elsa Bakalar, Gardener and Friend

Last October I joined with friends, and family including Jake and Susan Bakalar, Elsa's nephew and his wife, and 'honorary daughter' Marie Hershkowitz who had been a student of Elsa's, to celebrate Elsa's 91st birthday. It was a jolly affair with a buffet brought by Jake and Susan, cards, stories,  and tributes. And laughter. And champagne. Two weeks ago my husband and I visited Elsa at the nursing home and again had a jolly time. The menu was…

Baptisia – Plant of the Year

  • Post published:01/26/2010
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The Perennial Plant Association has named the beautiful blue Baptisia australis as its Plant of the Year. I am very familiar with this plant, although I have never grown it. Friends have this hardy and adaptable perennial (zones 3-9) in their gardens, and I have admired it on the famous Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls. It is commonly known as false indigo, a reference to the lovely color of the lupine-like races of blossom. An important blue…