open garden season is here

Jenna Baker

Meet Jenna Baker, garden designer extraordinaire, HPSO member and all-around gracious host. What a way for me to kick off Open Garden season. Mothers’ Day was the last scheduled open day, but you could make an appointment or check out Jenna’s Garden Boot Camp.

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This is a large property, as you can see looking up the long walkway to the house.

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After two sets of stairs have led you past long borders, we reach the last stretch of walkway, flanked by clipped boxwoods and large clumps of perennials.

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The surprise of magnificent Cardoons used as border plants…

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Roses are worked into the borders to show off to their very best advantage. I realized that my general antipathy for roses comes from “rose gardens”, where they are all crammed together in more of a “rose ghetto”.

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Tucked in here and there, surrounded by greenery, their distinctive form and fragrance can be appreciated.

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Not to mention the way companion plantings cloak the often unattractive form of the rose bush’s nether regions.

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Another surprising element that I loved was this serpentine boxwood hedge. Its sinuous beauty made me wonder why straight lines and rounds are the norm.

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The occasional closely clipped round can add an interesting element to a mixed border

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Echoed by looser rounds nearby.

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Drifts of ground covers, like this geranium, tie everything together.

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Some magnificent ancient trees came with the property, like this gigantic cedar.

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If you know cedars, you know that not many things will grow in their purview. A petticoat of lacy ferns is the perfect coup.

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Never have I seen a Beech tree of these proportions.

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A view from the driveway gives you some idea of how it dwarfs normal sized trees.

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Here we’re looking out at the orchard through the scrim formed by the tricolor birch tree. It’s canopy creates an opportunity for shade plantings. I had to eliminate some photos to keep this from turning into a gardener’s version of ‘War and Peace’ but tust me, they’re wonderful.

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Not easy to make a garden of this size feel intimate, but this one does. This is just one of several seating areas that invite you to stop a while (and even bring your own picnic lunch).

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Long borders flank a bocce court.

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Flowers, like these perfect delphiniums, are used discreetly, always surrounded by enough greenery to give them their due.

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In some gardens, it’s all about new and exciting plant material getting added to the wish list. Here, the plants are familiar but used so masterfully that they seem new and exciting. As I drew near to study the Clematis, I was engulfed by a heavenly scent. Sniffing my way around the whole area, I failed to identify its source. Jenna knew just what I was talking about and now Azalea ‘Northern Lights’ has made it onto my wish list.

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A dry border edges the parking area.

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Lack of water does not mean lack of beauty. A Cistus spills around a rusty piece of art, placed as discreetly as other elements.

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Just beyond the parking is a small sales area, where I found this ‘Black Sprite’ Centauria.

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And ‘Flamenco Mix’ Kniphofia, which starts out orange and fades towards yellow as it ages.

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Tucking my new purchases into the plantmobile, I reluctantly leave Rosemound Farm behind. Farmington Gardens is on my way home, so we’ll stop there next.

16 thoughts on “open garden season is here

  1. What a beautiful property and garden. I love beech trees and that one stunning. The curving box is a great idea. How wonderful to have so much room and long borders of mixed plantings. Thank you for the tour!

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