Friday, August 22, 2008

Will work for cheese

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.


One Woman's Journey said...

This is me. Wonder if they would hire me also. Will work for cheese and the privilege of weeding for them.

Nan said...

I've never been to the Inn or the Farms, but I have spent time at the Museum. Did you go? It is quite, quite wonderful. I especially love your picture of the steps and the garden.

Peter said...

Just as it should be. Stuffed to overflowing with plants and not a piece of orange mulch in sight!

When I moved here (Woburn MA) from the UK I was surprised by how many peoples gardens are just hostas, daylillies and orange mulch. At first I thought that was all that would grow here due to the cold winters.

Thank goodness I soon realised that lots of stuff will grow, and I am well on my way to having well stuffed 6' wide herbaceous borders too.

Doctor Mom said...

Yes, even weeding this garden would definitely be a privilege! And no orange mulch! I'm hoping to return next summer--among other reasons, to at last see the Shelburne Museum next door--they had a Mary Cassatt exhibit on--drat missing it! However, the Inn has its own curator, who gave interested guests a beyond-the-scenes tour. Perfect busman's holiday for a museum worker like myself!

heirloomgardener said...

Wow, that is beautiful. I've never been to the Vermont side.