The first was the garden of Ellen Ash, a 5 acre property in Great Falls, Virginia. I heard that Ellen is a transplanted New Yorker and a self-educated gardener who does most of the work on her large lot herself. As I struggle to manage my half-acre garden, I was impressed by that.
The very first thing that drew my attention when I climbed off the bus were these Alliums, which I hadn't expected to see with fresh blooms in late June.
|The color was a little too perfect and, when I lightly touched one of the flowers, I realized that they'd been spray painted. I saw the same thing done in other gardens the next day and realized that this was "a thing," even if new to me.|
I walked through a moongate into the woodland area.
|I've always wanted a moongate in my own garden, even if I've no idea where I'd put it|
|My guess is that this pretty tree, in full bloom under a dense canopy of trees, is Aesculus parviflora, aka bottlebrush buckeye|
|I admired this beautiful plant combination of a blue-flowered Hydrangea and a variegated Hosta. Hostas are plants I covet almost as much peonies.|
Ellen confesses to being a collector and she had lots of art pieces and whimsical items scattered throughout her garden, of which I'll share just a few.
|An elegant stone fountain surrounded by stone benches offered seating under the trees|
|Ceramic fish, a metal frog, and a cat birdbath|
|Spooky elements included this rat and giant spiders|
|A parody on the pink flamingo lawn ornaments popular at one time in US gardens|
There was also a huge pool and spa.
|This area included a pool house kitchen and even a bubble machine|
The next garden was just a short bus ride away in Tyson's Corner, Virginia. Peg Bier has gardened on this 2.5 acre property since 1959. She's well known locally as a long-time employee of Merrifield's Garden Center (which we visited the following day) and was a featured plant expert on "Merrifield's Gardening Advisor," a live television show that ran for 25 years in the Virginia area, concluding in 2015. (You can find YouTube videos of the shows here.) Her garden was utterly lacking in pretension, the kind of place I'd have loved to sit down and just enjoy. But our schedule didn't allow that and, to make matters worse, my camera's back-up battery died mid-visit, forcing me to resort to my phone's wonky camera. My photos don't do the garden justice.
|There was a fairy garden display along the street, near the spot our bus dropped us off. When I reviewed this photo, it struck me that the scene looked like a miniature version of Peg's own garden.|
Here are some shots of Peg's woodland area.
|There were flowers but they took a back-seat to foliage in this garden|
|The garden even had a stream|
Had there been time to sit, there were plenty of comfortable seating areas.
|Splashes of bright red color were a common theme|
|This is a poor photo snapped on my phone as we were corralled back to the bus but I loved this sunken seating area, perfect for a leisurely breakfast or a tête-à-tête|
There were lots of wonderful little touches too.
|Pots containing and surrounded by more touches of red color|
|Birdbaths reflecting light filtering through the trees|
|Sign on the door of the shed adjacent to a large outdoor work area, complete with a picnic table|
We're nearing the end of my Fling coverage, the remainder of which I'll cover in one or 2 posts sometime later this month. In the meantime, best wishes for for a cool and comfortable, and hopefully fire and smoke free, weekend.
All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party