Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Faerie Houses

While in Connecticut this past weekend, I spent a most pleasant Sunday afternoon visiting the Florence Griswold Museum situated along the banks of the Lieutenant River in Old Lyme, one of the prettiest towns I have ever had the opportunity to visit, time and again, throughout the years. The Griswold Museum was originally founded by the woman named Florence who inherited this property back in the late 1800's. Having really no other means of a living, Florence Griswold made her home into a boarding house for artists, who seeking escape from New York City and longing for rural character in the local countryside, could come and pursue their craft. She then founded an artist's colony on her property, now well known as the Lyme Art Colony. Today, the Florence Griswold Museum is one of the largest and longest-lived art colonies in America set in a quintessential and picturesque New England Village.

But, enough about that. My real purpose is to talk to you about the charming and most unusual of house tours I've ever been on. It took place on the grounds of the Griswold Art Museum and what a perfect setting it was. The weather was crisp and clear. The autumn colors were vibrant and vivid and the Faerie houses--well the Faerie houses, nestled among the museum's trees, gardens and outbuildings, were friendly and welcoming. Each displaying that particular resident's unique taste in both interior and landscape design and architecture made possible through their hunting and gathering talents and abilities.

It was a rare and magical afternoon and I just want to thank the museum personnel, and most especially, the Faeries (artists) for opening their tiny abodes to the public. After all, how often does one get a glimpse into the fantasy world of Faeries--I ask you?! The afternoon allowed me to open my heart to these tiny creatures by nurturing feelings of wonder, reverence and love for every detail they shared here.

There are 34 Faerie homes open at the Griswold Museum for only a short while longer and I am showing you just a few glimpses. If you are in the Old Lyme, CT area, you should take the time and go experience their wonderful hospitality before it is too late.

These two pictures you see is an example of what I think is a human-sized Faerie house built by resident Griswold artists. Although it is not furnished, I could easily picture a few of my own pieces arranged thoughtfully throughout this charming twig house with a few roaming chickens thrown in for good measure. The only thing I can think of that is missing from this structure is a fire place...I wonder why?!

Ever lose a gardening tool or a spool of thread?--the Faeries probably have laid claim to it and use these things in their own houses somewhere on your property. I can see that these particular folk like old china displayed around their house and gardens, just like I do.

By now you're thinking, "Good heavens, the girl's gone loony!" Well, perhaps I have. But when you can truly feel the sweetness of this magic, as I'm sure those along with me felt as they walked through this Wee Faerie Village on this lovely fall day, you will also begin to discover the Faeries, for they will make themselves known to you.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


It all started with the first picture posted here...

I've never considered myself a fan of the color orange but the other day when it was gloomy and rainy outside, this setting of dahlias and pumpkins in my kitchen window really caught my eye. The play of orange in the flowers, pumpkins, outdoor flag and the the reflection of the kitchen light in the window all came together to make to make a nice fall vignette.

Then, I found a few other mixes of orange throughout the house--all stemming from fall themes that seem to meld nicely with the reds, golds and even blues that are so prevalent all year long here at Blooming Hill. One thing I do know about the color orange is that you have to have a sense of humor with a bit of whimsy thrown in for good measure. In any case, I think I like the color orange more than I thought I did.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Greenhouse Ready for Cold Weather

Packing the greenhouse this past weekend became a family affair since Kevin was home from college for Fall Break and one of our nephews, Chris Rinek, was out visiting for the day on Sunday.

I love getting the greenhouse ready for winter because we pull in all sorts of plants from huge bay standards to small geraniums and other assorted annuals--the last holdouts from summer that will provide a few more breaths of color a little while longer.

The warm, moist atmosphere in the greenhouse encourages even more bursts of color and growth to the many hues of the green plants protected and stored in here for the winter. It's a happy, peaceful place now filled with some of my favorite plants, most of which, I have grown from seedlings and cuttings through the years.

The greenhouse smells "green" to me, too. The aroma of bay, rosemary, myrtle, lavender, Eugenia and scented geranium all mingle together with fresh potting soil and the earthen, terracotta-tiled and pea gravel floor. It's bright and sunny and cozy in here--still a bit early to turn on the electric heaters. Freezing weather seems too far away to take seriously because everything appears as it was while the weather was warm and "summerish." On sunny, cool days during October, November and, occasionally, even early December, here at Blooming Hill, you can walk into the greenhouse and still get a good dose of summer memories.

Columbus Day Weekend usually marks a turn in the weather and, for Peter and me, general gardening pretty much comes to a halt. We turn our interests to the cleaning up of beds and borders and maintaining the plants, transplants, cuttings and seedlings in the greenhouse in anticipation of next spring. It looks as though I still have room for more in here and, by February, it will be filled with plants anxious to get back outside. But, that's a long way off. For now, I'll just enjoy the greenhouse--maybe even bring in a chair, prop my feet up on a pot and read a good gardening book, in between watering and pruning...Maybe!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What's Cooking in the Greenhouse

I've been busy these past few days just trying to catch up in the greenhouse after the Bluemont and Waterford Fairs. I'm hoping I'm not a little late in getting some cuttings going before the first frosts set in, which which can't be too far away at this point in October. I've got scented geranium cuttings, and also Spanish and French lavender cuttings, both considered annual lavenders here in Zone 6. I have a lot more to do but have also pulled in from small holding beds around the greenhouse boxwood, bays, Goodwin Creek Grey Lavender (another annual) myrtle and Eugenia. Most of these plants were cut and rooted in the summer and I even sold several of them at the Bluemont Fair along with rosemary standards.

Well, they look nice and comfortable now, but just wait until this weekend when I start pulling in the big stuff. That's when I have to get creative and make room for everything from 6-foot bay trees to an orange tree to lots more rosemary's, myrtles, hibiscus and other plants I think I can't live without next year and will dig up from the garden to winter over in the greenhouse.

I'll let these little guys breathe easy for a few more days but the clock is ticking and the greenhouse will soon be packed up nice and tight for the winter. So much to do!