Garden Diary - July 2018

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Bellsflower Farm, a Garden Conservancy Open Days garden

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Open the Directory to page 181 for Saturday, 14 July and look what's open to visitors today. There are five nearby gardens - three in Hunterdon County, New Jersey and two just across the river in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. What to do, what to do . . . I could simply "touch base" and flit by all of them. Prefer to make in-depth visit to fewer. The day is summery - warm and humid. Two, I decide, will satisfy me nicely. Scratch Paxson Hill Farm since I was there in May.

First up, there's a description of Bellsflower Garden, in Stockton.

A garden of flowers from spring until fall. Sounds promising since this is summer, right in the middle. Roses, crape myrtle, summer phlox, and an assortment of hydrangeas - Hh. arborescens, paniculata, macrophylla. Sounds promising.

There's an elegant entry drive. I rattle over a cattle guard.

Right by the parking area and sign in desk there is a lovely
Liquidamber styraciflua 'Variegata', variegated sweet gum.

Hand in my admission ticket. Follow the yellow arrows thoughtful scattered about to offer some guidance to visitors. There are flower borders, nursery rows at the back. A large beverage container with lemon cucumber infused water is available on the veranda in back.

I'm advised that there's a huge tree, lots of shade, and a couple of chairs.

And some belted Galloway cattle in the back field.

As well as the borders across a sweep of lawn there are planting areas
adjacent to the house. Here, a bluestone patio dappled with shade
with a stately centerpiece of powder blue Plumbago capensis in an urn.

A stepping stone path meanders past pink mophead hydrangeas

and a wonderful rustic birdbath hollowed out in a large stone.

Continuing around the house I find a smaller path
lush with self-sown semi-double portulacca flowers.

A strong combination of purple petunias
and chartreuse foliage of pineapple sage.


Across the lawn is a deep border, its mixed planting of shrubs and perennials dense enough
to crowd out any impudent weeds. Yellow trumpet lilies scenting the air at one end of the arbor,

I come closer, enjoy more lilies, hydrangeas,
anchored by the structure of the tuteur.

A sweeping line of Hydrangea arborescens, flower heads so full
that their branches dip to the ground, mimicking the weeping
flowering cherry that creates a green backdrop behind them.

Of course, if you have a nursery with rows of different hydrangeas,
crape myrtles, and more it is easy to fill any gaps in the garden.

Another border with more hydrangeas, daylilies, other summer perennials
and annuals, using strong colors to make a good show at a distance.

Having followed the yellow arrows around the house (there's a planting of lavender backing up to a white fence, a little pool with two statuary cranes and tall ornamental grasses, gladiolas not yet in bloom) my peregrination is about at an end. Ninety minutes or so. Time to move along to another garden.

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