Garden Diary - May 2018

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Paxson Hill Farm, a Garden Conservancy Open Days garden

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Today is the Garden Conservancy's Open Days in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Three gardens. One, a new one to their repertoire, is only open today. Another has been mentioned quite favorably by a friend. And fortunately I've visited the third garden several times - fortunate because the two gardens will be enough.

My friend Joan and I plan our outing. Having visited the garden furthest away from her house and enjoyed our lunch, now it is onward to the somewhat closer to home second garden. Weather is rather warm and somewhat humid. No matter, it's not raining.

We're on our way to Paxson Hill Farm, in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Twenty acres, gardens, and a nursery. Joan turns in the lengthy driveway and we reach the busy parking lot. People are pulling carts with trees and shrubs and other plants towards their cars. There's a field between the parking lot and the road,

sown with a bluish grass going to seed, interplanted
with purple flowered peas scrambling up their stems.
Peas could be a green manure crop. Also - it's pretty.

We walk through the nursery area. Interesting plants. Better, we decide, to peruse, perhaps purchase, on our way out after touring the gardens. Onward!

Entry from nursery into the gardens is via a wonderful fieldstone path.

Off to one side is a secluded table and chairs. Perfect for a glass of wine at days' end, or a simple summer meal. Local tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, with a drizzle of olive oil, and good crusty bread. They have chickens here at Paxson Hill Farm, so an omelet is a possibility . . . We just ate, why am I obsessed with food?!

There are perennials tucked in here and there along the wide grassy paths through the shrubbery. Baptisia and Siberian iris appear to be signature plants, periodically repeating as we stroll passed.

Different cultivars so there is variations on the theme, not static.

The Siberian iris are planted in large drifts and also used in smaller groups -
this pleasing lavender, a tall dark purple, tall white and also a shorter form.

The actual flower borders are so dense they must be tended by drone.

image courtesy Joan Carter
I brought an umbrella as a talisman against possible rain.
It is also quite useful pressed into service as a parasol.

Joan and I notice a raspberry colored tree. What could it be -
a young beech, Fagus sylvatica 'Purpurea Tricolor'. Its leaves

back lit by sunlight, illuminated like a stained glass window. The central,
darker portion is actually a red-tinged green, will turn more green as it ages.

The plants are wonderful, the grounds are whimsical - bocce, anyone?

Or perhaps you would prefer a more formal Italianate water feature,
water jets mimicking the weeping beech beyond, paired trees, parterres.

I am attracted by the water spilling down through channels cut into
the rock. They spill out, the space behind each silver ribbon acting as
a sounding chamber, like violin or guitar, amplifying the water music.

An obelisk, mirror bright but not smooth surfaced. Dimples
create variable reflections of light and shadow and green grass.

We see the afore-mentioned chickens in their pen, also some white doves on green grass, a pond with a couple of mallards, and two swans. A trio of geese shepherding three goslings. And Guinea fowl. Fowl, not foul.

But when it comes to the peacocks it is vociferous sound
that announces their presence even when not in view.

An interesting, expansive garden. A diverse assortment of plants for sale. I happily purchased two different abutilons, a tender little shrub that has faded from availability. What a good day out and about in two interesting gardens, open today for the Garden Conservancy's Open Days program in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

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