1 This is the front entrance at Skylands. Every time I visit, I marvel at how well-made this handsome pink granite structure is.
2 Architect Duncan Chandler worked closely with the great landscape designer and conservationist Jens Jensen to build this magnificent estate for industrialist Edsel Ford during the 1920's.
3 Last weekend, we were shooting a story for my magazine about cotinus, or smoke bush, which are large shrubs or small trees, native to the warm temperate northern hemisphere.
4 The flowers of cotinus are clustered in large open terminal panicles, having a fluffy buff appearance, resembling a cloud of smoke enshrouding the plant.
5 This footed gray urn was the perfect vessel for the cotinus flowers and leaves and tall, spiky cimicifuga.
6 I have several cotinus bushes growing at my farm in Bedford and all the plant material for the arrangements was cut and transported to Skylands for the story.
7 I love the fact that there are vast outdoor terraces and woodland gardens reaching into pristine natural surroundings. Over the years, I have worked to restore the gardens, terraces, and woodland to what I think Jens Jenson originally envisioned.
8 This giant, heavy Soderholz planter, made of reinforced concrete from the 1920s, looks amazing planted with a large silver-blue agave, lots of echevaria, and helichrysum. This is one of a pair.
9 Here's the other.
10 This alocasia is growing nicely.
11 This faux bois planter, one of my favorites, is planted with agave and lysimachia.
12 This kalanchoe, lotus vine, and dichondra has certainly thrived in the cool and damp Maine environment.
13 Here's the mate.
14 An amazing ponytail palm in a large lead planter
15 An overall view
16 I love the way giant alocasia leaves look with sun filtering through them.
17 More alocasia
18 And more
19 Agave growing near one of the sphinx
20 The twin
21 This large urn is planted with a vivid green spiny agave and underplanted with blue-gray succulents.
22 In the shade of the western terrace, one of my precious old planters - French, but date unknown, is planted with stag horn ferns.
23 The staghorn ferns are underplanted with baby tears.
24 A pink Soderholz bowl planted with a giant birds nest fern, purple oxalis, and trailing dichondra.
25 A better look
26 Another pink Soderholz bowl planted with colocasia, bromeliads, and lysimachia
27 Bi-colored agave, three-year-old off-shoots from the parent plant, are growing splendidly in the stone trough.
28 A view into the woodlands
29 The long faux bois dining room table was set for Friday night's pasta dinner.
30 A closer look at the smooth cement top of the table