Garden Diary - June 2013

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Sunday, 16 June 2013
Open House at Atlock Farm

An invitation, to the traditional start-of-summer Atlock Farm Open House, on Father's Day. Nineteen years and its never rained. What could be more pleasant that an afternoon spent in a charming garden - there are display "rooms" set off with hedges and paths - plus picnic-type food and since Atlock Farm is a nursery there are plants for sale so one need not go home empty handed. Accordingly plans were made and late in the morning Paul and I set off for Somerset, New Jersey. Located on Weston Canal Road the place is just a hiccup away from exit 12 on Route 287.

. . . .

Always something new, like this double border with hydrangeas and alliums
neatly set off with a less-than-knee-high hedge and a tidy row of the topiaries
for which Atlock Farm is noted. When I'm back a week later it's subtly different.


Somehow Ken Selody manages to incorporate whimsical and stately and have it all work.

There are googly-eyed helmet critters guarding the steps

and a gigantic staghorn fern (moose head might be more appropriate)
swung up into a substantial tree for a summer vacation. He does this
with numerous pots of orchids too. I'd expect a monkey except I'm sure

Isabel, also outdoors for the summer, would not be amused.

You may be excused if you thought this to be a gazebo, with legs. I did too. But it is not. Eventually
it will be screened in and become an aviary for peacocks. Peahens too, I'm sure. Ken tried them
loose, like the Guinea hens. They stayed but the peacocks vanished. Ken will try again, confined.

But he'll need a bigger bird bath. Do peacocks need a bird bath? Something to ponder upon.

Time to eat, but only 'cause I'm hungry. This is a moveable feast. Hot dogs on the grill

transferred to a table just inside one of the hoop houses, along with
ketchap and mustard and sweet relish, potato chips and pickles, while

outside the beverage station has a keg of excellent birch beer,
drawn off into a pitcher so foam can settle. Some soda, bottled water.

Satiated, I idly wander some more, admiring yellow hibiscus
growing all in a row, as standards ,in bonsai-blue-glazed pots.

a romantic pink rose

a luxuriant fern sprawling its fronds with tropical abandonment.

So conversation with friends, people I've met before and others I only met today. In front of Ken I say something about Canna musaefolia, the banana canna. Which believe it or not, he not only doesn't have but actually wants. A vigorous plant, to say the least, I still have three large pots of it at home that I have not quite decided where to put them. Aha! I'll put one of them in my car and next Sunday I will bring it to Ken. Small enough, metaphorically speaking, thank you. So that's what I did.

A much quieter afternoon, just a handful of customers popping in and out,
just sitting and enjoying some conversation and the summer breezes.

And in conclusion, a white Mandevillia. Not the typical pink, not the intense red.
This crisp clean white with a yellow throat, this is the one that's Ken's favorite.

A second afternoon visit at Atlock Farm ends all to soon. Time to hit the road and head home.

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