Friday, August 26, 2011

Good Night Irene

This is normally the beginning of my favorite time of the year. After weeks of heat and humidity the waning days of August bring cooler weather and once again it's a pleasure to work in the garden. Although the leaves have lost their freshness, the flowers sparkle in the late summer sunlight and then of course there are the dahlias.

And armloads of flowers for arrangements. I gave this one to friend for her birthday.

But now with hurricane Irene poised to strike New England, it seems that my thirteenth year cultivating this property may prove to be particularly unlucky. Of course I'm still hopeful that Irene's path will change. Nevertheless before the storm arrives, I thought I would take a few moments to document the garden as it looks today.

The yellow flowers blooming around the pond are Ligularia Desdemona, prized for it's burgundy foliage and bountiful late-summer blossoms.

I love Hibiscus Fantasia's enormous mauve blooms. In the spring I pinch the stems to encourage an even more abundant flowering. Unlike their tropical cousins, all of the perennial Hibiscus die to to the ground each winter. Exhibiting a shrub-like presence, the plants blossoms come in colors ranging from white to pink to red. Some have copper colored foliage and all make terrific garden plants unmatched for late summer impact.

Although I had to replace a number of the thyme plants with new divisions this spring, the checkerboard patio, a favorite with all my visitors, has filled in quite nicely this year. In fact I can't remember a time when it was this uniform.

Due to the impact of the tree-form Hydrangeas Paniculata and Tardiva, the Blue and White garden is perhaps a bit heavy on the white this time of year.

Although I'm particularly fond of the white water lilies, I wish there was a hardy blue variety that I could add to the pond. Unfortunately, all of the blue water lilies are tropical and won't survive New England's cold winters.

I've always thought that if in my old age I have to scale back on the gardening, I will keep the front garden because it's both self-contained and a manageable size.

So there you have it, the garden pre-Irene. Hopefully it will look much the same post-Irene, but one never knows.

On a lighter note, last month my dear friend, client and unfailing supporter, Dr. Patricia Allen,stopped in for a visit. She and her friend, Stacey Bewkes, were en route from NYC to Little Compton. Stacey, who writes the wonderful daily style blog, Quintenssence, recently posted a charming account of her visit to my property on her blog,

And the pool garden that I featured in my last post is filling in quite nicely.

But now it's time to batten down the hatches and hope that Irene drifts farther out to sea.


  1. It's looking beautiful.

    Best of luck with the storm - hopefully it will miss you or at least reduce intensity before it hits.

  2. Your garden is looking even more beautiful if that's possible!! What a lucky friend to receive such a spectacular arrangement. Thank you so much for the mention - it was truly a pleasure to meet you and see your little piece of heaven!

  3. You have to give us a post-Irene update, Andrew.

  4. We hope you arent still cleaning up from Irene!!