This past week, I vacationed on the Vermont shores of Lake Champlain. We stayed at the perfect place for any garden lover, the Inn at Shelburne Farms. This Gilded Age estate is sited on a bluff with the lake to one side and fields and forests rolling out to the other. The landscape, designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, is disorientingly beautiful, with wide sweeps of meadow swirling around islands of woodland. Rises and swales conceal and reveal views. See, I get a little loopy just talking about it. What's the horticultural version of Jerusalem syndrome?
In front of the Inn, a formal mixed garden is terraced down to the lake shore.
What is so wonderful about this garden is its simplicity: just an array of familiar flowers--ageratum, salvia, sedums, coneflower, phlox--perfectly tended and pleasingly positioned.
Even the stakes have a certain simple elegance.
On one level, a rose garden, bound by a brick wall with the lake beyond, is filled with hybrid teas and floribundas. If I hadn't been so overcome by the setting, I'm sure that I would have a better recollection. But that's no way to experience this garden.
In addition to the Inn, the Farms host an organic vegetable garden and a dairy that produces its own farmhouse cheddar. So now I know my dream job. If I could tend that lakeside garden, no salary is needed. Will work for cheese.