Friday's Flights of Fancy - Armchair travels

Gwynne/Folcarelli Garden - Little Compton, RI

DSC_0139It is said that if you live in a place, you often overlook that which is right at hand.  Sometimes it is just ignorance of the existence of a feature.  Many times value of a place or an object increases with distance and cost.  It is important to take a close look at the opportunities within reach and seize the obvious.  So it was that the garden of John Gwynne and Mikel Folcarelli in Little Compton, RI came to my attention.  Little Compton lies along the coastline in a moderate Zone 6/7 climate.  A Garden Symposium was held last June and there were two gardens featured, both exquisite. The Atwater garden will wait for another Friday. DSC_0219The Gwynne/Folcarelli garden is designed as a series of rooms and each unfolds slowly sometimes startling the visitor with unique color and composition.  The home is lovely with a wonderful, naturalistic feel and both it and the entrance to the cluster of garden rooms give just a little hint to the wonders about to unfold.DSC_0147 There are allees, walkways, paths, and hedging which guide the visitor through the spaces.  DSC_0152A green globe glows serenely in the misty atmosphere surrounding the garden and dares one to come closer and closer until the most thrilling golden garden is revealed.  Variegated comfrey, hakonechloa, yellow yews and a myriad of other golden plants create a circular garden which begs for closer inspection. DSC_0158It is a bright garden on a gray day and it is difficult to leave but a glimpse through the hedge reveals the purple beech arch planted in a garden bed of Alice in Wonderland globe alliums. DSC_0162 The purple teases the eye with dark tones in contrast to the sunny garden left behind.  DSC_0193The arch is not yet mature but its form is clear and already it invites one through the space and around a water feature which sits below this DSC_0169 red lacquer gazebo complete with dancing elephants and printed pillows just waiting for a willing wanderer to climb the stairs and sit still for a moment.  The whisper of bamboo keeps one sitting,  listening, and surveying the scenery. DSC_0177 There is something to be seen from all angles in the garden and the view from this high perchDSC_0175is tranquil yet thrilling.  There is a glimpse of blue to be seen and it is the clear, light blue of Himalayan poppies.  DSC_0155 They are not easy to grow here in RI but the garden conditions have been carefully crafted to host this most valued garden guest.  DSC_0217I was there just as the bloom was starting to fade and the furry pods were forming.  It was hard to walk away from this blue but just beyond, the gray/blue garden sits.  It is a soothing space complete with chairs.  DSC_0207 Many of the rooms had places to sit and reflect. I hope the gardeners can take advantage of them on occasion.  DSC_0203
This garden is still maturing and I hope to see it again and again.  I know I missed many features and unusual plants.  If one can fault a garden for being too intriguing and too beguiling ...no, that simply can't be done.  It is the fault of the observer and not the garden at all.  This garden is more than a treat.  It is an adventure and the views out are as sensual and inviting as the views within.  DSC_0190
I do hope you get to see this garden in person someday but, if not, we shall 'Armchair Travel' to it again to watch it mature and develop.  Many thanks for hopping aboard. 

This garden is scheduled to be on tour again in June of this year.  Visit the website for further updates.        


Noteworthy gardens - Poppy Cottage, Truro, England

009_9Five inches of fresh snow are blowing around outside and the icicles are hanging from the rafters although they could be stalagmites since they are touching the earth and only reason tells me that they did not spring upwards from the depths of the snow around the house. 045_45 Cold and snow make this a good day for 'armchair traveling' which always serves as a reminder of past trips and garden inspiration.  Two years ago this coming June I had the good fortune to visit England and a tiny portion of its thousands of beautiful gardens.  The trip centered on Cornwall and some of the gardens within its southern bouderies.  Cornwall is the southernmost portion of England and its climate is quite mild with few extremes.  June was warm and sunny which only presented problems for the photographer.  047_47 Poppy Cottage Garden is a private garden owned and maintained by Tina and Dave Primmer. Both were on hand to greet our group and answer the myriad of questions posed.  They started the garden in 1998 and added additional garden rooms with the purchase of more land in 2003.  020_20It is hard to believe that this garden is 'finished'.  I am sure if I go back to Poppy Cottage I will find new and more extensive plantings as these gardeners have visible passion evident in the attention to detail within these spaces. Poppy cottage walkwayThis is not a huge tract of land but the arrangement of garden rooms, each with well thought out combinations 032_32and color schemes, make it feel as though you could wander forever. 046_46There are paths leading the way from one garden to another and there are sitting areas within many of the spaces.  041_41 The garden is very three dimensional as climbers rise up on columns with some trained overhead drawing attention and traffic to another garden room.006_6 Perfectly edged gardens, perfect grass and stunning colors keep visitors enthralled with the content of this unique garden.  039_39 The largest room in the series of connected gardens is bordered by trees, shrubs, and perennials chosen to complement the adjacent plants.  033_33I have never seen sage as big as the one in the lower left of this picture not to mention the bright, fuschia and purple penstemons. 035_35The borders flow and undulate and eventually lead to a less tamed, but no less interesting area, of the garden with paths of wood chips.  040_40 I have seen few gardens in America which have the diversity of plants and the style of this garden.    I find that travel not only inspires but teaches if one is open to a lesson.  This garden is tended by owners with flair, passion, and generosity.  They open their garden to others to share their work and their joy of gardening.  The garden as a whole is a delight but there is incredible beauty in the small,individual plants grown.  008_8 This Cerinthe major purpurascens seems otherworldly in color.  Who says there are no turquoise plants in the garden? I clearly see it in this one.  Thanks for 'Armchair traveling' with me today.  I am planning on taking a journey each Friday.  I hope you will choose to travel along.