Heath, MA is a small, rural town located in the Berkshires of northwestern Massachusetts. It might not be a destination for many but for those of us who love to garden, it is the home of Pat of Commonweeder and the garden of Elsa Bakalar who passed away recently at the age of 91. Pat is a prolific writer having written for the New York Times, Horticulture magazine and also has written a weekly column, Between the Rows, for thirty years for The Recorder in Greenfield. All this you may know of Pat but what you don't know, or may not know, is that she is a gourmet cook, mother of five grown children, maintains her own chickens, has a lovely garden and screen house,
has lived and worked in China and is a supreme hostess. Heath, MA and Pat's garden is a good two and a half hour ride from my RI garden but the trip was glorious and I was kept company by my Mom who loves a good ride and change of scenery. We first visited Elsa's garden which you can read about here and then Pat escorted us to her garden. We drove six or seven miles along winding rural roads until we reached the final turn to Pat's garden which is at the end of at least two miles of rarely traveled road. How do I know this? The grass was growing up the middle of the tract to her house. This I envy although she has the best of both worlds since the town does maintain the road which ends at her house. She may be at the end of the line but it is the most glorious end of the line I have ever witnessed. Picture a sunny hillside with farmhouse overlooking gardens, fields, woods and the far hills.
I wandered the gardens while Pat puttered in the kitchen and chatted with Mom. It is nice to have a tour but it is also nice to absorb the efforts and inspiration of another's garden. The house has a delightful patio with wisteria covered pergola and an herb garden just in front. Walking across the drive and past the old barn foundation, the rose border beckons. Many of the roses are done blooming for the season but a gardener's imagination knows no limit and the scent was as real as if it were actually in the air. The rose walk heads down to the new potager with blooming flowers and vegetables.
The screen house sits overlooking the field and just in front, on the way back to the house, the crescent shaped beds of perennials, shrubs and trees provide color and interest.
Did I forget to mention the apple trees along the potager? I have to confess I plucked one for an early treat.
Pat has a welcoming home with bookshelves filled to overflowing with cookbooks. To our delight and surprise, the table was set and we had a lovely lunch in the light of the sun filled table in front of the window overlooking the garden and beyond. How could biscuits taste so lovely? Just as appetizing were the farm raised, marigold yolked eggs in fritatta form with berry buckle to follow completing the meal. Simple, elegant and very delicious. It is a meal I will long remember shared with Mom and Pat overlooking a beautiful garden.
Our day did not end here as Pat graciously took us down the mountain to the city of Shelburne to view the Bridge of Flowers. That is a post for another day though. Blogging has enriched so many of our lives by opening worlds beyond our own. Every opportunity to meet a fellow garden blogger and to actually see their garden is a great gift. Many thanks to Pat. I am hoping she will take the drive down to visit my garden when she has the time. Tucker, Cooper and I are here waiting for you, Pat. Thanks to all for taking the tour with us. Have you visited a garden blogger this year? Who, when and how about the next one on the list. Share!