A perfect day.... (photo heavy)

deanneart(z5Southern NH)July 2, 2006

Good Morning Idyllers,

What can I say except yesterday was one of those perfect days where you have to sit back and really and truly live in that moment because it just doesnÂt get better. The weather was a complete surprise to me (probably Sue also) because it was gorgeous, all day and evening. There was no rain, wind or uncomfortable temperature and just enough breeze to keep the insects at bay. There were only a few puffy white clouds to decorate the pristine blue sky. As I said perfect!

Wendy came to NH in the AM and we had a lovely couple hours touring the gardens here. Poor gal! I probably talked her ears off doing our walk about but I canÂt tell you what a treat it is to have a gardener in your garden. You folks all Âget it where most of my friends, family and neighbors just think it is pretty but a bit much if you know what I mean.

Anyway we had a pleasant drive to the Hartford area to pick up Sue and Tom then continued on to Les and MoniqueÂs for our al fresco dinner and garden tour. We took a few minutes to have a couple of the gorgeous, plump shrimp with zesty cocktail sauce to take the edge off our appetites, collected our beverage of choice, I had a delightful crisp sauvignon blanc that complimented the shrimp perfectly, then it was off to the gardens. The fellows decided to sit in the shade on the deck to enjoy the day and Monique guided Sue, Wendy and I around their wonderful gardens. The creative use of their land never ceases to amaze and please. The fairly level and long property is now graced by undulating borders with cul-de-sacs tucked away in unexpected places with strategically placed seating to enjoy the views. Here are a few images from our tour.

I love their entrance with the violet door that picks up all the colors in the surrounding plantings.

I love their repetition of color in a grouping, this iris against the C ÂPolish Spirit with garden ornament in the same colors is wonderful.

What a terrific new addition to their garden art. This urn is quite large and impressive.

I love the grouping with the Sambucus ÂSutherland GoldÂ

Sweet Emma

This is a wonderful, creative treatment using these two terra cotta containers. TheyÂve planted a F. ÂGartenmeister in the ground next to the corner of the taller container to soften the edge. Brilliant!

I LOVE this pink container

After our tour we settled in to our comfy seats on the deck and enjoyed a fabulous meal with a lobster orzo dish that was over the top fabulous, a delicious chilled corn salad with fresh cilantro and perfectly grilled salmon with hoysen sauce. Some yummy!!!!

Then it was off to Hartford for dessert.

We still had plenty of daylight to explore SueÂs marvelous gardens. Tom whipped up a batch of his fantastic margaritas enjoy while touring the borders. As always it was a treat to wander her paths through the plantings. She has the most creative and wonderful treatment of shade areas IÂve ever seen and IÂm always inspired to improve my shade gardens after visiting her. Sue treated us to a delightful fresh blueberry pie with a homemade cookie crust and fresh whipped cream. Just in case we were still feeling a bit on the hungry side (LOL) she also offered fresh fruit salad and mini chocolate éclaires.

And now some images from our evening at Sue and TomÂs

Sue gave me a piece of this H ÂStriptease but mine has a long way to go before it reaches this size and beauty.

This Hakone grass has to be the best specimen of this plant IÂve ever seen. It is fabulous and huge!

You have to see this H. ÂSum and Substance in person to realize just how enormous it is.

One of SueÂs Âscores from Jo AnnÂs Fabrics

This banana is wonderful and such a perfect focal point for the patio garden.

OK all, IÂve got to go and get ready for another holiday barbeque today and must be off. I hope you enjoyed your photo tour!


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Deanne - thank you for that fabulous tour! It brings back wonderful memories of last year with some different touches in the gardens. Great pots and a lovely urn. How nice to see Sue's without a downpour! True inspiration and food for the gardener's soul. Do you have any pictures of the real food? my mouth was watering at the descriptions. As always your photography captures the best of the gardens - this spread is as good as any in the glossy gardening magazines.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2006 at 5:27PM
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chloehoover(z6b VA)

Deanne, thank you, thank you for being so considerate & taking photos of your visit to these gardens. I frankly don't know what to say, they are so lovely (drat that Thesaurus) -- but again I feel as though I was there vicariously and want to reach out and touch each plant and combination.

It sounds as though it was the most very perfect garden day - perfect weather, friends, plants, food -- you all were so fortunate. It all looks so magnificent that only gardeners can appreciate what truly hard work all these people do to make them look so fantastic - years of hard, hard work. But it sure looks perfect!!!


    Bookmark   July 2, 2006 at 8:30PM
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gardenbug(Canada zone 5)

Oh Deanne! Thank you so much for taking your camera along!

What wonderful friends, fabu-fabu gardens, devine food, splendid weather....

I hope we can repeat the mood at V's! I know the anticipation feels good already!


    Bookmark   July 2, 2006 at 10:17PM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

OK, I know I'm not crazy but I posted to this thread last night and added a couple of more pictures? Did anybody else see them? How strange!


    Bookmark   July 3, 2006 at 8:15AM
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deanneart(z5Southern NH)

Sue, nope, I didn't see any pics or post from you here. Mabye you could try again???? I think Doug got some shots of us in the gardens and need to have a peek at his photos.


PS every time I see that pic of the side of your garage I get banana envy. LOL I'm heading out to JoAnn's. Wish me luck.

Monique, would you ask Les if that paint he used on the pink container is exterior latex? And also did he varnish it or is it a semi-gloss? I'd really like to try painting a couple to go with a theme.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2006 at 1:06PM
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I think my keyboard is going to short out with all my drooling. Thanks Deanne for sharing the pictures of Sue and Monique's stunning gardens. I'm so glad that you all had such a nice day to enjoy these wonderful gardens. The food sounds great too.
Mentioning painting containers, Deanne I thought you mentioned that some of your resin ones were losing their finish. I bet you could do some wonderful things with them and some paint. I know I have a couple that need help.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2006 at 4:19PM
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I've decided there are NO words in the thesaurus to describe the delight I get from seeing such well composed gardens-both from Monique and Sue-you two are just so great at creating interesting and exciting visuals. Sue that Painter's Palette is even more stunning in your garden than what I've seen in books! Love every inch of these pics-thanks Deanne for taking time to share them! I'm so glad you all had a wonderful time-gardens & friends,could there be nothing better?


    Bookmark   July 3, 2006 at 4:20PM
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Full_Bloom(z5 IL)

Well...I was just getting ready for bed when I noticed this post! *THANK YOU* Deanne for sharing it with us!

You really do have a wonderful eye for color Monique. I *love* that pink container too, Deanne! :-) And that gated arbor...I've always wanted one of those and love the color you chose to paint it too. I love the pic with the iris, glass ball and clematis....that purple is so beautiful and the shades match *exactly*...and I'm in love with the front door too....everything is just lovely!

Sue - Your garden is just beautiful and I agree with Babs about how well you create interest in the garden. I see you are pretty talented in the "edger" department too...I'll be picking your mind about that when you come.
:-) The pic with the path that leads to the gate - honestly made me gasp...I scrolled back 3 or 4 times to see it again...Wonderful! I *cannot* get over your banana either...wow! Next year I think I'd like to try that again and just leave it in the ground and mulch it like you did. It *is* a great focal point!

Thanks again for sharing your garden tour with us girls...wish I could have been there to see it person! :-)


    Bookmark   July 4, 2006 at 1:39AM
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Marian_2(Z6 ARKozarks)

Such a plethora of beauty! Thank you for sharing!

There is just too much to comment on individually, but I wish to ask Sue if her bananas are in pots, or in the ground? Mine are in pots, and are pretty pitiful. I did repot the smaller into a larger pot a few days ago, and top-dressed the bigger one.
I am espacially partial to Monigue's 2 terra cotta pots, with the Fuchsia growing next to them. ( Emma is a pretty cute 'flower' too.) :-)

The only way I could even hope to have such a beautiful display, is to move to a 'no deer' zone! The new arrivals have developed a taste for plants that escaped in the past. :-(
I really will not be surprised if they venture up on the deck for dessert!

Oh well, I can enjoy all your beautiful pics....and dream.


    Bookmark   July 4, 2006 at 9:37AM
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Absolutely beautiful gardens and people who own them. :o) It is wonderful to see these two gardens again. I cannot find the words to convey how much I love seeing these places again.

Thank you so much for sharing your photos Deanne.


    Bookmark   July 4, 2006 at 10:35AM
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Monique z6a CT(6a CT)

Sorry it has taken me a few days to chime in-we were thoroughly exhausted from Saturday and just laid around, took naps and did nothing on Sunday. Unfortunately we were both supposed to work yesterday, but hubby stayed home sick. He knew he was coming down with something and he had a fever which peaked at 103 this morning but its back down to 100 this afternoon. Im feeling fine so hopefully it isnt contagious.

We had a wonderful time on Saturday. As Deanne mentioned, what a treat to have real gardeners come thru the garden. When someone would ask the name of a plant and I couldnt remember, someone else could offer valid suggestions as to the latin name or cultivar to help me out. Glad everyone enjoyed the meal-I just love that WILD salmon-hope its available for a while. Im going to try and write up the recipe for the lobster citrus with orzo b/c I did a bunch of calculations to scale it up from the recipe for 2 as a main dish to a larger recipe but as a side dish. If I wait much longer I won't remember what I did. It did make more than I thought though-just had it for lunch again today.

Sues garden was fantastic as usual. I always love her combos and all of her shade plants that I cant grow b/c I have mostly sun gardens. Shade plant foliage is so much better than foliage on full sun plants. Toms margheritas and Sues blueberry pie were delish, esp with the non-curdled fresh whipped cream LOL!

Deanne, the paint he used on the pot was interior/exterior hi-gloss enamel.

A few photos:

Deanne as part of the outdoor painting:

Hot tubbing at Sue & Toms:

    Bookmark   July 4, 2006 at 4:14PM
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Monique, I love the new urn. The knautia? looks cool with it. Your whole garden is stunning.

Sue your spacing of plants and great combination of texture and color is envious.

I hope my garden grows up to be a lady like both of yours and Deannes someday. It is more a unruly teenager right now.

Thanks for sharing your lovely gardens and goodtimes. Norma

    Bookmark   July 4, 2006 at 5:42PM
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vtskiers(z6a CentralCT)

Ooops, sorry it took me so long to get back. Thanks for all your kind words. Some torrential thunder storm ripped through my town on Monday afternoon and took out our cable including internet. It's still out this morning but I'm at work today and not totally cut off. An hour of rain did more damage to my garden then all the rain we've had so far this year-plants flattened, paths eroded, rivers of mulch in places where mulch shouldn't be. Oh well...

Marian, the banana beside the garage is planted in the ground. It's a Musa basjoo and can be hardy to zone 6 with winter protection. We did have a mild winter this year but I think once you get them established your chances are better of getting them back. Any other bananas I have are in pots but new this season.

I enjoy planting and fiddling with shade gardens much more than sun gardens. It seems like all I do in sunny garden areas is support plants or cut back plants I forgot to support. They always look like a mess to me. I may just convert my whole patio garden to tropicals, woodies and containers.

Here's a picture of one of my work in process areas-the shed. It still has a long way to go but is alot better than before. What color should I paint it? I'm thinking maybe purple of some shade. A lime green door maybe? lol Tom needs to reshingle the roof.

And here's a side view from the circle.

It's funny...Deanne and I were talking on Saturday about how people who come to your garden take pictures from totally different views than you usually do yourself. I took some pictures Saturday morning but never got time to post them. Then Deanne put these up and two of the shots were almost exactly the same as two I took that morning. I guess we must have similiar radars for garden viewpoints.

Gotta run,


    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 8:17AM
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Wow! Absolutely gorgeous. Thanks so much for posting the pics! Everyone's gardens look so beautiful. Sue, I love the shed vignette. And seeing your shade gardens again.

Monique and Les, your garden accoutrements really add something to the view. That is one thing I am missing, any interesting art.

Deanne, thanks for taking time to post these!


    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 10:34AM
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veronicastrum(z5 IL)

Gorgeous! Just as Mary's kind words on the main thread convince me that I can really bring this talented bunch to my yard, I have to see these pics and feel inadequate all over again. Actually, Norma said it best - my garden is also an unruly teenager. Every once in a while it has these moments where it looks great and you know some day there will be hope, and then suddenly it's all gawky again.

I know that if I had been there I would have had multiple hortgasms as well! Well done!


    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 12:32PM
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Sue look at the purple caladium underneath the shed window. I can picture the shed in a deep plum like the flesh of the leaf with that green running down the center of the caladium leaf for the door-or the green of your garden gate(though the green on my monitor might not be accurate-maybe it's a blue green-though that would coordinate with plum too) You can't go wrong taking colors from your plants especially when the colors are on the same plant: ) OR maybe do the colors vice versa-green for the shed and purple for the door. I would also try to get a third accent color on the mullions of the window and possibly the corner and door moldings. I suppose there could be a way to get lime green on there but I have to think about it-my question is whether it would steal the show from your chartreuse plants becasue the door is a larger plane...?

Deanne-that blouse is cute! So then I guess you would be a living masterpiece then? lol.

V we will love your garden because we love you!

Norma it's good to see you here...all the pics I've seen of your place look pretty darn gorgeous to me! To you it may look unruly but I bet we'd all think it looked like rambling beauty: )!....


    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 9:47PM
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yeonasky(z8b VancouverBC)

Fabu Fabu, to steal or borrow Deanne's phrase again. :) I love both the gardens and although I do feel as if I'm there, I wish I really had been. You are such a lovely bunch of people and we all met on the internet?! Fancy that. Anyway the unique situation aside, it is like seeing happy family photos in totally lovely vacation settings. So glad to journey through your beautiful gardens again and again. Thank you.

Sue the shed is so sweet and will look great whatever color you paint it. I think the plum would look lovely with the plant, too, as Babs suggested. I'm on a turqoise kick, so I imagine a deeper turqoise on the window trim and door for a real punch of color contrast. Of course my imagination isn't always close to reality. :) As I said whatever you choose will look great.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2006 at 2:00PM
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