Saturday, August 29, 2009

Summer Garden Visits

I love to visit gardens, especially herb gardens, during the summer. This year I stayed close to home and visited Elm Bank, home of the Horticultural Society of Massachusetts and the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.

I love the design of the herb garden at Elm Bank but thought the garden itself looked a bit neglected. It is a beautiful design in a wheel with spokes pattern. Each "spoke" has a different theme such as the dye garden, fragrance garden, etc with herbs fitting the category. There was a good selection of herbs, just needed some tending.

One of the other things I love about Elm Bank is the trial garden. There is always a great variety of new plants to see. One I really liked as Achillea "Apricot Delight", a pretty little yarrow in delightful colors. There were also different varieties of Echinacea and a large selection of scented geraniums including a very fragrant Vanilla scented geranium I will have to go look for. Here is a picture of the achillea.

But I thought the most beautiful garden of the day at Elm Bank was the Childrens Garden. In full bloom with wonderful scents, textures and colors it was a joy to walk through with all kinds of little paths going through the garden and places to just sit and enjoy.

The New York Botanical Garden had a summer exhibit called the Edible Garden, including a culinary herb garden with plantings designed by Martha Stewart, which was the reason I went down there. It was well worth the trip. Sipping on some Martha Stewart herbal iced tea available at the cafe, I spent time in the small but beautifully designed and impeccably maintained herb garden. With beautiful formal boxwood knot gardens filled with sage and cardoon and amazing planters with scented geraniums, rosemary and hops it was a delight.

But along with the herb garden was a wonderful display of edible gardens in a community garden and all through the botanic garden. I particularly liked this display of lettuces as a border.

Of all the beauty in this garden, I think my favorite thing was the flowering lotus in the

courtyard of the conservatory. Having seen lotus flowering in China many years ago, I had forgotten its delicate beauty and the way it rises above the water with those large dramatic leaves.What a treat to see this.

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