Slip Beyond the Misty Walls & Linger Within My Secret Garden…

Weigela florida ‘Red Prince’ Tumbling Over the Secret Garden Wall. Stonework by Vermont Artist Dan Snow. Read More About W. florida  by Clicking Here.

It’s mid-June —showtime for some of the season’s prettiest perennials, flowering trees and shrubs— and the garden is always dressed to the nines. Even within the shady depths of my Secret Garden walls, blossoms appear and scent the balmy air. As a garden designer, June is also my busiest month, and finding leisure time to tend my garden —let alone enjoy it— can be a challenge. Still, Mother Nature is kind enough to keep extending the daylight hours, allowing me a few stolen moments in the early and latter part of my day to snap a few photos and pull a few weeds.

Would you like to go for a little stroll with me, before the sun sinks low? It’s almost summertime, and this weekend seems a fine prelude. I’ll pour you a glass of rose-scented prosecco. Remember how we celebrated with a vintage cocktail at the other side of the season? Come, the rain has finally stopped, and sunlight is playing with a kaleidoscope of color; bouncing off shimmering foliage and mossy rocks…

A Kaleidoscope of Hues Accent Dan Snow’s Walls with An Ebony-Glazed Crow by Vermont Artist Virginia Wyoming (Plantings, Clockwise from Lower Left: Hosta ‘August Moon’, Umbrella Plant (Darmera peltata), Fairy Candles (Actaea simplex ‘Hillside Black Beauty’), Moonlight Hydrangea Vine (Schizophragma hydrangeoides ‘Moonlight’), Heuchera villosa ‘Caramel’, Athyrium nipponicum ‘Pictum’ & Alchemilla mollis)

Deep Within the Secret Garden, Golden Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’) Illuminates the Mossy Path (Also planted here: Heuchera micrantha ‘Palace Purple’, Single Japanese ‘Le Charme’ Peonies (Paeonia lactiflora ‘Le Charme’), Rodgersia aesculifolia & Ostrich Ferns (Matteuccia pensylvanica) surround a Young Stewartia pseudocamellia)

Much as I Adore the Over-the-Top Voluptuousness of Double and Bomb Type Peonies, the Delicate Beauty of Japanese Singles —Such as the Exquisite Paeonia lactiflora ‘Le Charme’ in the Secret Garden— Appeal to My Deep Attraction to Asian Simplicity

Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium nipponicum ‘Pictum’) Planted in the Secret Garden with Coral Bells (Heuchera micrantha ‘Palace Purple’), Spurge (Euphorbia cyparissias ‘Fens Ruby’) and Dead Nettle (Lamium maculatum ‘Orchid Frost’)

On Sunny Evenings, Prince Pickerel Often Sits at the Edge of His Throne, Awaiting A Kiss at the Secret Garden Door

And on Rainy Days, Prince Pickerel Disappears within the Secret Garden’s  Mossy Stone Walls

A Tall Urn Accents a Shady Corner of the Entry Wall Along the Secret Garden Path (Surrounding Plants include: Heuchera ‘Caramel’, Actaea simplex ‘Hillside Black Beauty’, Hosta ‘August Moon’). All Stonework by Vermont Artist Dan Snow.

Meanwhile, Just Outside the High Stone Walls, June Flowers Reign Supreme along the Petite Lawn. I’ve Nicknamed this Beauty ‘Veronica Lake’. Stunning in Blue Isn’t She? This Veronica Truly is a Wispy & Ephemeral Flower, With a Short but Unforgettable Showing. In Spite of this Peek-a-Boo Quality, Veronica austriaca subsp. teucrium ‘Crater Lake Blue’ Will Always Have A Place in My Garden. Once Finished Blooming, I Simply Cut Her Droopy Foliage Back to a Tidy Mound.

Prelude to Summer: A Garden of White in Lingering Light. Valerian officinalis, Aruncus dioicus & Hydrangea petiolaris in Evening Sun

One of My June Garden Favorites, North American Native Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia cutivar ‘Pink Charm’), is Blooming Her Pretty Head Off in the Entry Garden Along the Ledges; Attracting Dozens of Swallowtail Butterflies with Her Sweet Nectar and Bright Color (Also in this Garden: Juniperus horizontalis ‘Wiltonii’, and in the Background, Miscanthus sinensis cultivars)

Wild, Rambling Roses & Horizontal Juniper Along the Ledges (Juniperus horizontalis ‘Wiltonii’ and an Unidentified Old Rose Cultivar). Every Year, I’m Asked About the Fragrant, Rambling Rose Along My Secret Garden’s Entry Garden Walk. This ‘Wild’ Rose was Discovered in the Ruins of an Old, Crumbling Stone Foundation, Located on the Property Where I Grew Up. I’ve Taken A Slip With Me Each Time I’ve Moved, and It Seems Particularly Happy Here Along the Ledges, Growing in Harmony with the Blue-Green Juniper. Can You Spot the Floating Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly?

The Pretty June Bloom of this Geranium ‘Brookside’ is Often Followed by a Second Showing in Autumn —Particularly When Clipped Back Hard to a Tidy Mound— When Her Foliage Turns Brilliant Orange and Scarlet

The Smoldering Glow of Sunlit Foliage on this Smokebush (Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’) in the Entry Garden is Radiant as Stained Glass in the Long Daylight. Also Illuminated in the Background is Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’

Pretty Blue Flowers from Chance Seedlings of Perennial Bachelor Buttons (Centaurea montana) Sparkle Against the Deep Maroon Foliage of Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diablo’)

Back Inside My Studio, Double and Bomb Type Peonies Fill the Room with Heavenly Fragrance from the Garden: Paeonia lactiflora ‘Sarah Berhardt’, P. lactiflora ‘Raspberry Sundae’ & P. lactiflora ‘Duchesse de Nemours’

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9 Replies to “Slip Beyond the Misty Walls & Linger Within My Secret Garden…”

  1. Jen

    Oh gawd, this is all so ugly and awful. I don’t know how you stand it up there at Ferncliff. ;-)

    Wow. So lovely. I’m glad you’re busy with work, but I sure wish you had more time to enjoy all the beauty you’ve created there in your own space. Thanks for taking the time to share it in pictures and descriptions with folks who visit your site!

    I love the planned small grotto where the crow statue hangs out in the rock wall. Such a great feature – a rock wall cubby-hole. Imagine being able to have some kind of outdoor, stonework library, complete with built in book shelves! That would be so cool (if impractical and impossible in New England)

  2. Jen

    I love your photos- I wish my garden looked so pretty! I noticed your large pot filled with water where the Prince sits- is that acting as a pond for him- and does it work? Every once in a while I find a toad in our yard and I’d love to install some sort of water feature to keep them here, but I don’t have the space for an in-ground pond system.

  3. Michaela

    Hi Jen, Thank you for your kind words. The water bowl does work for the pickerel frog. I refresh the contents in spring, but otherwise just add water during hot spells and organic Bti to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. The Bti is safe for all living things (it is, in fact, a living thing itself) except fly larva. It will not harm frogs or butterflies or bees or anything else, except the mosquitoes! Toads are attracted to cool dark “houses”. You can make one yourself or Google toad house to find one online (I think I posted one here somewhere, at some point!). Toads also like water to drink. I like to leave shallow dishes in the vegetable garden (where I find the toads tend to hang out). xo M

  4. Michaela

    Hello Jennifer, It is really awful here. Makes me want to poke my eyes out! ;) I like those cubby holes so much! Wish I had Dan’s talent, and I am sure grateful that I am caretaker of his walls. Books in the garden. That would be awesome. Now, how??? xo

  5. Michaela

    Thank you Elin! And I always enjoy my vicarious, late-night travels through your blog. It’s almost as good as being a stowaway in your suitcase! xo M

  6. Jen

    I think I bought the mosquito dunks for my rain barrel- they were labeled safe- it’s like a donut-shaped ring- is that the same thing? Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Michaela

    Hi Jen, Yes. The dunks are Bti. You can also buy them in tabs that will sink to the bottom. Safe and responsible way to have still water features in a garden.
    ;) M

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