Sunday, May 17, 2009

Perennial Gardens

Standing Stone Perennial Farm in S. Royalton, Vermont

Lynne Hall, co-owner of Standing Stone Perennial Farm

I had another wonderful Vermont experience today. Our friend Holly Walker, who is such a wonderful potter, is also an incredible gardener. For months she has been telling us about a wonderful perennial farm nearby, and this morning she took Mark and I there. Standing Stone Perennial Farm was all that she had told us and more. We met co-owner Lynne Hall, pictured above, who went and got the paint buckets of actual paint used on her house so we could copy the numbers exactly. Mark has been spending hours each day at the Benjamin Moore site trying out colors that might work on our house, and Holly is doing the same, and we all responded to the colors Lynne has on her house. Then we walked the gardens and felt deep joy from the beauty of this place.

Holly and Mark at Standing Stone Perennial Farm, note color of house behind them

Holly came over the other day and walked our garden pointing out names of everything. She had already done this once, when leaves were just peeping out of the earth and everything looked identical to me. Now even I can see the differences. I had a paper where I had diagrammed the garden and now I adjusted labels, but made a mistake and wrote names from one area on a different page, and it was a mess. So I decided I would take my digital camera and photograph the garden instead. I do remember my mother, who loved gardening (and made me and my siblings do much of the weeding), starting in winter with catalogs and drawings and complex plans of color shifts and areas of constant bloom. The idea of doing the record keeping with digital images seemed so 21st century to me. Then Mark made a joke about me weaving the garden plan and it seemed so absolutely right that I am going to do it. I took tons of photos of the garden, panning from section to section, and then returning to do individual plants. Years ago I had purchased a Native American dye chart in New Mexico where they had swatches of woven cloth in the center and lines out to plant specimens on the sides. I figure my weaving will be some variation of that with overall plan and then identifying closeups. 

"My" Perennial Garden

Heuchera Micrantha (Palace Purple) in "my" garden

Yesterday I stopped to talk to our neighbor, Kelly Green, who was working in her perennial garden, and mentioned that I had taken digital images of the garden and was planning to print it out and label each plant. So Kelly sent me the following link to show me what she has done. It is brilliant. She uses Flickr though and I don't think Picasso has this cool ability to add notes when you hover over an image. I probably will just do mine in Photoshop. Then I can keep going and work on it as an image for weaving.

So walking through the gardens with Holly was a bit like walking in a foreign country, hearing language but not understanding a word. Proudly I could point to a few plants and mutter "Heuchera" or "Sedum--Autumn Joy" which showed I was paying attention the other day, and not all my brain cells have been fryed by playing too much solitaire on the computer. Because we plan to do exterior work on the house this summer, Mark got me to agree that we would only purchase something for the wooden barrel in our front yard (seems like all Vermont houses have these wooden barrels). So this morning was more about future additions to the garden. We did end up with a beautiful grass (Helictotrichon or Blue Oat Grass) that we can transplant to soil in the fall. Perhaps we have started a new tradition--each year we can get something for that barrel that will then get incorporated into the garden. Over time, with experience, maybe I can even call it my garden instead of "my" garden.

At my Open Studio next weekend Holly and Liz and I are going to premier our table setting collaboration. Please come and see it, and enjoy the walk around "my" perennial garden.

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