Another enjoyable garden tour at Cantitoe Corners!
Yesterday, on the year’s last official day of summer, I opened my gardens for a private showing to The Garden Club of America. The tour was part of their annual Shirley Meneice Horticulture Conference. The conference was held at New York City's Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and ended with visits to several other botanical institutions and gardens in the area, including mine. It was a great honor - nearly 60-guests from various states across the country attended. Every now and then, I agree to these special guided walks to show visitors what is blooming at the time and to share how we care for all the many plantings at the farm. Unfortunately, I was traveling abroad and could not join the group, but I did call-in and wish them a most enjoyable visit and tour.
Here are some pictures of what they saw - enjoy them. And, happy autumn!
This garden tour was for the Garden Club of America. Ryan reviewed the map of the farm and indicated where the group had started their tour and where they were headed next.
The first stop was the Japanese Maple Grove. Because Japanese maples prefer sun-dappled, part shade, I planted many of them beneath larger trees.
We’ve picked many of the vegetables from the garden, but it continues to thrive. I am glad our crops had a good summer season despite the erratic and dry weather here in the Northeast.
Adjacent to the main vegetable garden is this garden with more plantings. Salt hay lines the footpaths to prevent them from becoming excessively muddy and compacted. It also enriches the soil.
The group came on a perfect weather morning, when it wasn’t too warm or too humid.
Some guests used their Shirley Meneice Horticulture Conference totes.
Here is my first Linden Tree Allee. I love this allee, and only wish it was longer. The Linden is one of three English names for the tree genus Tilia – it’s also known as lime and basswood. Beneath the lindens, we planted a ground cover that includes leatherwood ferns.
This is the new peafowl “palace” where three peahens and two peacocks now reside.
This peacock is a Black Shoulder Pied. He is the dominant male at the farm.
This is my Black Shoulder Silver Pied male. Both males have bright coloring that works in their favor as they seek out mates.
The next stop was my stable, where Sarah and four of my five Friesian horses were ready to greet our guests.
Here is my handsome Ramon – he loves saying hello to anyone who stops by his stall.
The Boxwood Allee always grabs everyone’s attention.
Throughout the walking tour, this enthusiastic group asked many interesting questions, and took many garden photos.
The group stopped to see the expansive paddock with my home and carport in the distance.
This is old Canadian white spruce fencing I imported. It surrounds all the paddocks where the horses, donkeys and pony graze.
The group walked past the great white pine trees. Pinus Strobus is a large pine native to eastern North America. Some white pines can live more than 400-years.
Here is another view in between the paddocks. Look closely and you can see Clive, one of my three Sicilian donkeys.
Every group touring the farm loves the winding road into the woodlands. During this time of year, the foliage creates such a lovely canopy of shade.
The tour loved seeing all the different specimens in my pinetum. I started planting the pinetum about 10-years ago. The pinetum is tucked between my equipment shed and my weeping willow grove.
The group saw the Pin Oak Allee, Quercus palustris, with its distinguishable lower, middle and upper branches forming a most interesting growth habit.
Ryan told the group these trees were among our best growers – and so easy to maintain. I love the shade these trees produce in the allee.
Guests had the opportunity to walk through the cutting garden. Every group experiences a different tour when they visit the farm depending on what is blooming at the time.
Everyone asked about these – Gomphocarpus physocarpus. Its common, more memorable name is hairy balls. It’s a large plant, which can grow to six feet tall. And, in late summer, it is covered in two-inch, golden-green, hairy seedpods – definitely a conversation piece, but they add a unique touch to any bouquet.
There are several tall, round arbors covered with morning glory vines, which are flourishing.
Morning glories, Ipomoea purpurea, come in a variety of colors. The flowers bloom from early summer to the first frost. Their big, fragrant flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds. ‘Heavenly Blue’ is the classic morning glory with the rich azure flower and white throat.
Heather stopped to take a photo of some of the pink and white blooms that caught her eye.
Bald cypress, or Taxodium distichum, is a deciduous conifer. It is a large tree with gray-brown to red-brown bark. It is popular as an ornamental tree because of its light, feathery foliage.
Earlier this summer, I decided to fill the area behind the bald cypress with beautiful Stewartia trees and lush, green shade-loving plants – this garden is doing so well.
Across the way is my winding clematis pergola. Most species are known as clematis, but it has also been called traveller’s joy, virgin’s bower, old man’s beard, leather flower, or vase vine.
Beyond the pergola in the back is a row of weeping hornbeams, Carpinus betulus ‘Pendula’ – the branches of these trees gracefully weep creating an umbrella of foliage that reaches the ground.
Do you remember what this structure houses? It’s my basket house – filled with dozens and dozens of baskets.
Here are the dwarf espalier apple trees. We don’t have nearly as many apples this year as we did last year, which means less cider and my favorite pink apple sauce.
Across the carriage road, I also have six Gravenstein apple espalier trees, Malus ‘Gravenstein’. This antique variety is well known for cooking, sauce, cider and eating out of hand. The fruit is large, with crisp white flesh and a distinct, juicy flavor.
For every tour, my housekeepers set-up some refreshments on the lower terrace parterre outside my kitchen. Laura also picks flowers and makes pretty arrangements for the table.
For this group – an assortment of homemade cookies and biscotti! They were a big hit.
Our pomegranate drink is served with slices of lemon and lime. The pomegranate juice is a concentrate from our friends at Pom Wonderful. http://www.pomwonderful.com/.
Here is a lovely view looking down the length of the southeast paddock to the chicken coops in the distance.
The garden behind my Summer House is always a favorite stop on the tour. The boxwood look very lush and green. The path is lined with white caladium. The all white variety is only a few years old. Caladium is a genus of flowering plants in the family Araceae. With their large heart-shaped leaves, they are big landscape favorites.
At the end of the tour, each guest received a copy of my newest book, “Martha Stewart Vegetables”. It’s on sale now – did you get your copy?