April 2010


Secret Garden Tour Milford Pa 2009

 After weeks of rain, the weather held and it was a glorious day for the 17th annual Secret Garden Tour organized by the Milford Garden Club.

Best stop on the tour, hands down.

Best stop on the tour, hands down.

 A couple of this years gardens were over the top in displays, space, design, and staging.  I’d guess sculpture must have been the secret theme for this year, as every garden had at least one sculpture, and one had, um, er, what can only politely be called, an over abundance.

For me the actual plants fell flat.  Lots of standards; impatients, straggly petunias, pink coneflowers and a butterfly bush thrown in here and there, with no surprises, making for very predictable gardens.  With all the rain, I was expecting more of a lush Eden.  Never the less, I managed to find something endearing about each garden, and two plants I have never seen before so.  Maybe I’m a bit spoiled after the drop dead plantings of the last couple of years. 

My favorite garden on the tour this year.

 This was my favorite stop.  A very new garden according to the owners, and very, very nicely done indeed.  I was struck by the minimal amount of color, amazing combinations of texture, pattern and repetition in the shrubbery.  This is one of those gardens you want to see again in a couple of years.  One of those places you walk into and get an immediate sense of peace and relaxation, it was a large garden, yet felt intimate.  It had the biggest pond I’ve every seen on the garden tour, just massive, with two, count ’em, TWO waterfall/streams.  This was in the meditation area, and it was so peaceful, it looked for awhile as though several of us were moving in for the day.





 Outstanding texture, everywhere you looked.  Hard to believe this is such a young garden.  And these shrubs, in pics above and below were, outside the fence.  Whatever they are doing to keep the deer away, it is working!  Love the very tidy border of stones too.


This is one side of the two falling water streams.  That pond is big enough to be a swimming pond. 

Now on to the statues and such.  The garden below was huge, park like, and had spectacular views.  Another Asian influenced garden, tho’ not as peaceful as the first, spacious comes to mind.  That, and I wonder how many gardeners they have on hand, and could I be one of them?  Please?  Pretty please?

Same as above, different view.  Is it just me or does the white arbor in the background kill this for you?

Same as above, different view. Is it just me or does the white arbor in the background kill this for you?

Mean Mr. Moon was hanging from this tree.  There was an outstanding view of the Delaware from this garden.

Mean Mr. Moon was hanging from this tree. There was an outstanding view of the Delaware from this garden.

Mean Mr. Moon, hanging from 100 year old lilac tree.
Mean Mr. Moon, hanging from 100 year old lilac tree.
An Indonesian inspired gate.  Its difficult to convey the scale in this garden.  The gate is huge, the birdbath is enormous.

An Indonesian inspired gate. It's difficult to convey the scale in this garden. The gate is huge, the birdbath is enormous.


Nice repetition with the urns by the boardwalk.
Nice repetition with the urns by the boardwalk.

And below a kitty cat from the Moon Valley Garden.  Wild choice of succulents, I like to see it when it is blooming.

As someone said, Cat with Mange?


 Remember the 70’s?  Love Boat, Love Canal, Love American Style?  The next stop, which was our final stop on the Secret Garden Tour reminded me of all three of those.  I kept expecting Hugh Hefner to pop out of one of the love shacks with this month’s bunny on his arm.  Despite the fabulous and probably expensive sound system, my brain was playing and endless tape of the B-52’s Love Shack.  I could only look at Minnesota Man and grin.  With all that nakedness, it was hard to even think about the “hundreds of evergreens, and shrubbery” mentioned in the brochure.   What a hoot.  I’d love to be in on the rehash of this year’s Secret Garden Tour executive meeting!  This is one of those gardens you’ll either love, or hate.   (you may want to preview this if you have small children, or teenage boys, or are uncomfortable with female nudity.  These statues are not  Greco-Roman knock offs, more like flavor of the month turned to stone.)

Foxgloves and Other Darlings

Before the rain, hail and high winds came and took them all away.

I love these flowers.  I love their color, the funky spots, and the

sound the bees make when they are way up inside.  The buzzing is

amplified by the bell shape leaves,  it sounds like a rocket about to


oh, and they are highly poisionous, how cool is that?

Lupines.  Pretty nice this year before the slugs and grasshoppers

had their feast.  I just cut them back tonight to the nubbies.  We will see what happens next year.

Creeping Phlox

I love creeping phlox.  It shows up to the spring party looking like the latest Lily Pulitzer dress. 



Last week, when the minature iris were still blooming.

From the upstairs window…..

Through the alliums….

(oh, and for the record, the white stuff is Candytuft, not sublata but similar.)

Spring!(or setting up stakes)



From the 16 year olds birthday gift.  Do you think they were trying to make an impression with her mother?  15 year old boys arriving with a large basket of spring flowers, balloons and candy is quite the site.  The blooms lasted for a good month on the porch.  I smiled and thanked God every single time I saw them.

From the same basket.

And the early spring crocus.  Yep this photo is two months old.  The progress here is so incremental you have to set up stakes…the blog progress the garden itself is going great guns.  I’m the pokey one.

January 2009


Waiting for spring here.


Ya, I know it’s been two months.  I gave up gardening after the woodchucks.  We were able to eliminate several of them.  Then caught a skunk in the havahart.  FYI, if you get a skunk they suggest you cover the cage with a tarp and then pull the release handle.  We managed to release ‘Petunia’ with no harm.

As for the garden.  Ugh.  August was dry and I spent all garden time moving water from section to section.  So what the woodchucks hadn’t feasted on would have a small chance of surviving.  September has been spent cutting back and cleaning up a bit.  I did get out on Saturday morning and managed to top dress the circle beds and part of the front garden.

I have completely neglected anything that is growing in the backyard this year.  Blech.

All of this is very encouraging isn’t it?  Actually it is because Fall is zooming into view and that means spring BULBS.  Yea!  So while I continue to figure out what needs to be moved where, I take a break by visiting the local garden centers and salivating over their bulbs.

Being cheap I wait until they go at least half off.  Last year I was planting bulbs in December as we hadn’t had a hard frost and the ground was still workable.  It is however, very hard on the ol’ knees to be down on the cold ground.

What I Saw On The Secret Garden Tour

There were some very clever containers on the Secret Garden Tour this year.  I’m borrowing lots of these ideas for my garden next year.

Corn in a pig planter.  Charming, whimsical, and clever all rolled into one.  There was quite the pig theme going on at this stop.

Same stop, not 15 feet away was this gem.  So different from the piggy-in-the-corn, and yet it all worked.  I don’t have the slightest idea what the plantings are here, the tall feathery one in the back looks like dill, or cosmos.  If you know please chime in here!

Elephant Ear, and something that looks like it could be alternathera, maybe purple knight?  Very bold, just demands to be looked at.  Love the limey color with the purple.

Look to the right, more corn!  And yes, more pigs.

Very nice one color container, that’s a caladium & a clematis.  Maybe the common woodland clematis?  I really have to ask more questions next year.  The problem is the actual gardeners aren’t always around, would you stay with a couple hundred people traipsing through your garden?  I’ve rarely had any luck asking the club members about the plantings.

Great color for the shade garden.  And it’s doable too.  Easy plants to find at your local garden center.  In a couple more weeks it will be fetching as the plants fill out and over flow the container.  Unusual container too, and nice the way they lifted it up off the ground, to give it some height.

Huge, but simple planting of impatients on a column of bee boxes! (what’s the proper name for those boxes anyway?)

Completely over the top.  Giant birdbath, or fountain?  I’m not certain but I love the boldness here.  Everyone took one look and went “wow”.

Milford Pa Secret Garden Tour – The Dirt!


Today was garden tour day, a time I look forward to all summer.  Throughout Milford pink balloons and flags sprout over night marking the houses selected for this years Secret Garden Tour.  This is followed by crowds in hats, carrying water bottles and sporting hot pink wrist bracelets and bright pink maps.  And the ladies of the garden club with their nifty flowery t-shirts. 

Minnesota Man went with me this year.  We had an enjoyable, albeit hot time, checking out all the gardens, visiting with friends, and he even bought me lunch, plus he took all the photos and he is way better with the camera than I am.

There were so many nice plantings and clever ideas, I’ll be busy all week blogging about it!

Once again, water features were prevalent.  Every house had at least one water element, some had three or four.  Here they are in no particular order.

This is the other end of the pond in the first photo.  I love it.  I like the way the water flows simply from the rocks, no giant path, no meandering brooks, it is just right there, very open and inviting.  This garden is only a year old, and I cannot wait to see it again.  It has great ‘bones’.  I love the use of space and paths.  Splendid now, in a couple of years when the plants ‘leap’, it will be a showcase.

Cast Leaf Remembrance Place

I have been wanting to do this for years!  I’m guessing it’s cast from an Elephant Ear plant.  Also guessing the shallow dish with sand and round rock is not a Zen element, but for visiting butterflies.  This was in the butterfly garden at Remembrance Place.   

Inviting isn’t it?  Check out the detailing in the floral tiles around the edge of the pool.  Hard to believe, but the gardens here were so completely over the top, that I barely noticed the pool.  (more on those later, I’m still coming down from that visit!)  Oo, oo, and they floated a clear tray with a cool drink.   No detail was overlooked in this spectacular garden.  The plantings were top-notch, and I enjoyed all of the staging.  It was like walking into a magazine or a movie set.  Every gardeners fantasy.

Very traditional birdbath in a wildflower setting. 

Same garden, funky buddha, I like the bas-relief dragonflies on the edge and the way the buddha is aged.  This is my favorite buddha by the way, the happy buddha.  I think I may have the same one in my garden.

Again, same garden as happy buddha and wildflower birdbath.  This was a large yard and the gardener had lots of room to play.  The agricultural water tank had a varied selection of aquatic plants and there was a nice, gurgle/bubbling sound.  I’m really picky about the way water features sound, I can’t stand the sound of water hitting plastic, or running too fast or dripping in that way that reminds one of torture.  This was pleasant, and the close enough to the patio area to be relaxing. (yes, I resisted the urge to yank out that yellow dead leaf.)

I think the homeowner must enjoy the sound of this water feature.  It’s just off his screened in porch.  I asked fellow garden spy (stranger) who was coming out what his thoughts were about this garden.  His observation?  Cozy, homey and approachable.  The house looked that way too, the garden was a good extension of the house then.   This was number 8 I believe.  Nice touch with the mossy Japanese lantern.

There were two interesting and very different birdbaths at No. 5, I’ll show you this one, I’m saving the other for another post.  What I like here is the very simple common pachysandra combined with this rather ornate, there is an intricate pattern in the bottom that is hidden by the water’s reflection. and unusual birdbath.  I’m pretty sure that’s cast concrete, it matched perfectly with the stone in the house and stone throughout the garden.

Coming soon, wine & swine!  Also a look at the multitude of paths, and areas of rest.




 Or Masterwort.  My kids have fun with that name.  Master of the house…master of the wort.  Then they collapse as children do in fits of uncontrollable laughter.  Rolling on the ground, holding their aching sides.

It is currently my favorite shade plant.  Interesting leaves, odd little tufts on flowers on spikey stems, and it self sows.  I have a white, and I hope to get some pink ones soon.

Mine is under a lilac, so it must do fine in sweet soil.  It also grew in my back bed which was deep shade and dry.  It didn’t thrive mind you, it did survive however.

The giantic mail box came from Minnesota Man’s family farm.  Back in the day, when people mailed letters to one another.  I use it to hold my gardening tools.  It is huge, I have a 2 gallon bucket in there with the hand tools, clippers, string, and gloves, and there is still room for the various bottles of elixirs, um er pesticides and insecticides and a mixture of bleach.  My arsenol, so to speak.