Thanksgiving Reflections

Since it’s that time of year for giving thanks, I wanted to make a list of the plants I am most thankful for in our gardens. It is not a perfect list, but here is a sample of my favorites from spring to fall.

March can be a tough month. Often, by the time March arrives, I am absolutely aching for spring blooms. When all still seems dreary and cold, these little beauties rise up to give me hope. Reticulated iris are not like the tall Siberian and Japanese iris you may have seen here in our North Garden in June. They are quite low to the ground (under 6″) and bloom in mid to late March.

Iris reticulata ‘Alida’

Come April, my heart is swooning over our thousands of daffodils. We have 45 different varieties here – some from each of the 13 daffodil divisions. To learn more, check out our display in the Visitor’s Center in April. Below is one of the earliest daffodils to bloom on the property. 

Daffodil ‘Ice Follies’

May is so full of life and color I can barely take it all in. The tulips are in full swing, many shrubs are in fragrant bloom, and the Itoh hybrid peonies are in flower in the Rose Garden. The color and softness of these impressive blossoms never disappoints. 

Paeonia ‘Julia Rose’

June is, for me, all about the roses. I want to stick my nose in every rose I see to inhale the subtle perfumes each one possesses. It is a very busy time at work, but we still take time to stop and smell these beauties.

Rosa ‘Ambridge Rose’

July was a treat in our Idea Gardens this year. We experimented with planting swaths of drumstick allium and the effect was magnificent. Props to Gail for this stunning idea!

August was hot and humid, as usual for New England. Even though we were sweating, we realized this is the perfect season for insects to gather strength before the winter. Many monarchs visited our gardens this year (yay!), and we found they appreciated our zinnias very much. 

September is a favorite month among the gardens and greenhouse staff. The gardens are full and lush, insect life is humming, and the work lessens to a manageable pace. It is in this month that I am thankful for our gorgeous dahlia collection.

Dahlia ‘Caribbean Fantasy’

October is a wait and then hurry up month. We wait for the wedding season to come to an end before we take the gardens apart and plant our thousands of spring bulbs. Our garden volunteers are integral in helping us in all of this work. 

November is a time for finishing any final bulb planting and officially putting the gardens to bed for the winter. We have a large pile of leaves that we will shred and then use to cover bare earth in the Idea Gardens. Shredded leaves are a gift to any soil (for more on the importance of shredded leaves for a great garden, check out my blog last November here). Although November can be a chilly month with variable weather, it is still a great time to take a walk in nature. I love the quiet here in mid-fall and the way the light changes my perspective on this place I see everyday. Come take a walk at Blithewold this November!