High 60 F
Today the schedule demanded a trip to visit some customers on the coast. I know, that sounds like a long trip but in Rhode Island, even though I am as far inland as one can be without being in another state, it is only 35 miles, or so, away. I started my trek by crossing the Jamestown and Newport bridges and once through Newport, along the roadside in Middletown, I glimpsed the mule team pictured above. The mules are owned by Rhode Island Nurseries. Rhode Island Nurseries is the oldest and largest nursery in the state. It was founded in 1895 by the Vanicek family and they are still operating it on 420 acres where they field grow ornamental shrubs for garden centers. They use the mules for cultivating between the rows of plants. It is easier to use mules to work between tight rows as tractors are too wide. They do use some machinery where they are able but the mules are a tradition and a necessity. They use the manure mixed with grass clippings and wood chips to replace topsoil which is lost when the shrubs are balled, burlapped and lifted from the field. Sustainable agriculture! What a great idea!
This nasturtium displayed in a container planting at Island Garden Shop in Portsmouth caught my eye. Of course they were out of this variety. Displays really help to sell product. As I crossed the Mt. Hope Bridge into Bristol I couldn't help but notice the whitecaps on the bay which was a hard steel gray. The wind was quite strong and the temperature was only about 55 F. Chilly and unusual for June!
My biggest adventure of the day was visiting Gayle, Kris and Fred at Blithewold I have known Gayle and Fred for quite some time but had yet to meet Kris. She writes a blog on the plantings and gardens at Blithewold which I have been enjoying for the past several months. I have been to Blithewold before but when you see it through the eyes of another's pictures and then in person the details stand out! Now I know right where the Chestnut Rose stands! It is a magical property with 32 acres (I think) right on the water. The grounds are meticulously and lovingly cared for as Kris relates in her blog. It was a real treat to actually meet Kris and to speak with her and Gayle-the highlight of my day! Day, I mean month! I know that she has many blogs to write and I don't want to take away from her future posts but here are a couple of pictures from Blithewold . It is an amazing place! This rose garden smells heavenly! Click on picture to enlarge. This picture has some wonderful paving detail in it so be sure to notice it although the focus is on the orange tree. This next picture was taken on the woodland path of which there are several. I love the structure and texture of the tree trunks. Okay, one more of the rock garden which is a surprise garden as it just seems to appear as you walk along a path. You can see the bay in the background in this shot. It would be no problem to spend more time here given the chance. The hard work of the staff is clearly visible in the pictures. I wish I could borrow the 'Deadheads' or the 'Rockettes'. Kris, can't you spare them just for a day or two? There is nothing like meeting a fellow blogger! I'll be stopping in again to say hello and next time I will bring pastry! Promise!
I did stop at one other small garden center called Hidden Gardens. It is right on a main street but the parking area is tucked behind several buildings. On the way into the parking area I took a picture of these neon planted window boxes created by the owner of Hidden Gardens. They are hard to miss. Here is a shot of the sales area. It is small but filled with explosive color. This window box was also done by Hidden Gardens for the ice cream parlor. Doesn't it look delicious!? Here is one last container. As you know, I love containers and am always on the lookout for those that are well dressed. I hope you have enjoyed today's journey. Thanks for coming along.