A day trip to Whistling Gardens

woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)June 10, 2011

It was a very cool, somewhat cloudy day here today. A perfect day for visiting a new garden/garden center. This one is about 90 minutes away. The garden center/nursery specializes in unusual shrubs and trees. But the owner of the place also has ambitions to turn it into a 'destination garden', a horticultural tourist destination. He calls his ambition 'a mission'! It's an admirable idea since there is a shortage of destination gardens here, but I wouldn't be too surprised if that aspect of this place becomes known as 'Darren's Folly'! ;-)

We almost missed it driving past because we were expecting something very visible from the road. But there was just a small sign at the end of a driveway. Fortunately, GPS told us we were there! Once we pulled into the driveway, we could see the fancy pergola structure that acts as the building for the garden center:

The stone walls look nice - at that distance - and the web site shows that he's 'into' stone walls. Unfortunately, a closer look at the walls reveals that they are very poorly done DIY, with one side already badly leaning outward! The walls are mortared. Drylaid would have been better so at least when they fall down they're easier to just rebuild properly!

Nevertheless, it was a really interesting place for plant people to get together and wander around:

And there were some VERY interesting plants. Here are a few that caught my eye:

A wonderful soft pine

This was so cute - but would grow up to be bigger than I have a place for

This one made me think of a porcupine!

I think this might be the same thing after the candles open a bit

This is not a good picture - the 'balls' grow in in a swirl pattern so it made me think of green whipped cream on sticks :-)

Thess had an odd candalabra effect. I think the label said they were plum yews (?)

There is definitely a lot of interesting colors, sizes and shapes for conifer growth tips. These were a couple that caught my eye:

One tree was supporting local wildlife

We weren't entirely sure the chicks were alive! They appeared to be breathing - you could see faint movement of their sides - but they were either sound asleep or in a dubious state because they seemed totally oblivious to us and there didn't seem to be any mamma bird distressed by our close proximity to her babies.

While I ended up mainly taking pictures of conifers, there were lots of deciduous trees of various sorts. GB was yearning for a Forest Pansy rebud and I thought there Wolf Eyes dogwoods looked a lot better than the one we bought a couple of weeks ago. There were a lot of interesting Japanese maples too.

After checking out the garden center, we wandered off to see what we could find of the garden construction projects he has underway. The walking was difficult for me since the roads are in rough state from heavy equipment. So we just had a look at the formal garden which is in its infancy:

Aside from the fact that it has many years to go before it is anything near a reasonable state of growth, it looks rather odd to see a formal garden in what is essentially a farm field! A formal garden like that need a large, formal house to go with it :-) It doesn't appear that a house is likely there.

I resisted temptation and did not buy anything! So the only plants I came home with are the white shooting stars that are in the green box gb's DH is holding in the picture near the top of this thread. Gb bought a cute little fir - she'll have to tell us more about it...

We finished the trip with lunch at the Boston Common

Who knew that Boston was so rural?! :-)

While the garden turned out to be somewhat different than we expected, we had a fun day!

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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Oh yes, a Cercis Forest Pansy would be wonderful, but I've already lived through that yearning, that phase of my gardening life where you attempt to grow things unsuited to your zone. I think I tried 3-4 Forest Pansies, wrapping them in burlap etc... in vain. This nursery has many Japanese maples that I'd love, flowering dogwoods too. There were wonderful variegated Ginkgos, but he said it would be 20 years before I'd know if it was a male or female. All of these were for warmer climates than mine!

My tiny dwarf Korean fir is supposed to tolerate my climate, some shade too. :)

I feel as though I've been to a foreign country after this outing! Definitely not a wild country garden look. All that was lacking was the chateau!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 8:56PM
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It's interesting to see a planned garden in it's infancy, but the leaning stone walls?? That kind of stuff needs to be 'done right'.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 12:25AM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Nice thread, Woody! It looks like all had an enjoyable day. I am impressed that you came away empty handed! Such resolve! Are those your copper peony rings?

We have a few destination gardens near here. The one that comes to mind is Rideau Wood Ramble, definitely a great place to spend some time. I don't know how to attach links yet, but you could Google it for a look.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 12:56PM
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jak1(4 Ontario Can)

Let's try this

Here is a link that might be useful: Rideau Woodland Ramble

    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 1:01PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Looks to me like another obsessive plantsman with a big vision! I imagine some of the older famous gardens started out this way.... with or without the luxury home to go with it... Neat commentary, Woody - and fun to see more idyllers getting together!


    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 1:32PM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Great pics Woody, love all those conifers. I've only limited room here for expansion and one of the trees on my want list is Picea Orientalis Skylands... Just love that spruce. I'm going to begin establishing a shrub border across the street edge of front yard either this year after the garden tour or next spring.

Bug, I'd love a Forest Pansy too but I don't think they are too reliable here. Sue lost hers last winter and it had been there for years. go figure.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2011 at 3:45PM
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