Yesterday Teresa Watkins, who gardens in steamy Zone 9b, shared her visit with her husband’s family in Massachusetts. Today she’s still touring up north, sharing these gorgeous images from her visit to the Blithewold Garden and Arboretum in Bristol, Rhode Island.
The round entryway known as a moon gate is a traditional element of Chinese gardens. Here, that feature is beautifully reimagined into a New England version.
A long walkway flanked by two perennial borders is overflowing with flowers.
Here is a closer view of one of those borders, with tall roses and lilies in the back and shorter perennials in the front. A container of purple petunias (Petunia hybrid, annual) anchor the front corner.
Careful use of layers—from tall trees to shrubs down to smaller perennials—enclose this space, while comfortable chairs and neatly mown lawns invite you to either sit or stroll to enjoy the garden.
The TREES! There is nothing like huge, beautiful specimen trees. The simple grass around these emphasizes their majesty.
This is a spectacularly huge specimen of weeping hemlock (Tsuga canadensis, Zones 3–7). Although hemlock is normally a tall forest tree, weeping versions of this species are always beautiful and just get better and better with age.
Stepping under the canopy of that same hemlock reveals the incredible sculptural form of the branches and trunk.
The huge leaves of butterbur (Petasites japonicus, Zones 5–9) create a tropical effect in a not-very-tropical climate. This plant can spread vigorously, especially in wet areas, so plant with care in small gardens.
A miniature lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) grows in a small pot. Even without flowers, the beautiful leaves make a wonderful statement. Though hardy to Zone 4 when growing in larger ponds, this small container will need to move out of the cold for the winter.
Elements of this scene can translate to even the smallest home garden—a shady seating area, and the effect of a garden bed created by massing together tropicals and annuals grown in pots.
Bear’s breeches (Acanthus mollis, Zones 6–10) bloom against a stone wall.
And here’s one last view of the beautiful gardens at Blithewold. What a magical place!
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