June 1, 2014

A Country Garden at the Cusp of Summer

I went out to visit my friends S&J at their farm, just 15 minutes north of Baltimore, on one of the most glorious days possible, weather-wise. It was sunny, with some fluffy white clouds scudding across the sky, there was a nice breeze and it was in the 70’s. It reminded me so much of summers in England and Wales. From past visits, I knew I was in for a huge treat seeing the gardens early in the summer.

Halcyon Farm (10)As we walked in from the drive, one of the first things J pointed out were some great old urns filled with a variety of flowers and plants.
Halcyon Farm (1) Halcyon Farm (2)

A little bit further along, there was another massive urn with a huge yucca plant in it. At this point, I should probably mention that J is an amazing gardener and he and S have an impeccable eye for how the gardens should be laid out.

Halcyon Farm (4)

As we wandered into the main gardens, J pointed out the parterres that will become the cutting garden later in the summer. Halcyon Farm (8)There were dozens of dahlias grown from tubers that are waiting until some hedge trimming is done to be planted. Halcyon Farm (26)

J knew I had paid an outrageous amount for peonies last week, so he offered to cut some of theirs for me! They have two rows of white and hot pink ones, which were just at their height.
Halcyon Farm (13) Halcyon Farm (14)

In addition to growing flowers, S&J also grow a wide variety of vegetables, including tomatoes, squash, beans, chard and lettuces. All are arranged in tidy tows with straw and hay between the rows to keep down on the weeding and to conserve moisture. Halcyon Farm (16)Halcyon Farm (24)Halcyon Farm (19)

There are also copious herbs including these chives which have just gone to flower. Halcyon Farm (17)

S&J also have fruit trees, which they have espaliered in the traditional European style. Halcyon Farm (20)

The trees alternate pear and apples, and you can just see the fruits which have formed on this tree. Halcyon Farm (21)

I was playing around with my camera and captured this panoramic view of the vegetable gardens. Halcyon Farm (23)

As we headed back towards the house, I captured some more images.

Gorgeous purple clematisHalcyon Farm (12)

Last year’s gourds on a trellis, waiting for this year’s plants to grow.Halcyon Farm (29)

Another urn, this time with a banana plantHalcyon Farm (28)

A cast iron bench tucked in below the stone wall and old hedgesHalcyon Farm (31)

Outside the kitchen of the house is a small shaded patio which brims with plants and flowers!Halcyon Farm (34)

One of the spectacular pieces is this tree fuchsia. While commonly seen in hanging baskets, these trees make a stunning showpiece in the patio.Halcyon Farm (35)

Another stunner was the espaliered tree against a plain wall. This is a great technique if you don’t have room for a huge spreading tree.Halcyon Farm (32)

As I was leaving, J handed me a literal armful of peonies! I laid them on the seat of the car, turned on the a/c and headed for home. Halcyon Farm (38)

From the time they were cut in the garden, until I put them in an old silver champagne bucket, less than 30 minutes had elapsed. Here they are in front of an old Chinese silk painting, where you can just see a white peony peeking out from the left side. (The white paper is from where I shoot items for my Etsy shop because the light is so good!)peonies (1)peonies (5)peonies (6)peonies (8)

Thanks to J for the tour of the gardens and especially for the gorgeous peonies! The house just smells amazing from their scent.


  1. Oh my god! What a glorious garden! I particularly like the juxtaposition of banana plant and urn:).

    1. And i loved the yucca in the urn. it's a spectacular property.

  2. I believe the yucca is actually an Agave americana, it's a pretty common plant here so I recognized it right away.
    It's large scale is in perfect proportion to the urn, a really stunning composition.

    1. You're probably right... we don't have too many of them around this area.

  3. Stunning gardens! How fortunate you are to have such great friends.



  4. Wow. You have friends that share!! MF is there a special way to prep a peony, fresh cut, seal fresh cut with a match????? Pease do share, special additives to the H2O??

    1. I know that there are a lot of suggestions for keeping peonies, but I just trimmed them down a bit and stuck them in plain water. Even though they were only cut 30 minutes earlier, I needed to cut them down.

    2. If cutting from your garden and it is a hot day, take a bucket of water and place the stems directly in the bucket. Once in the house I re-cut mine and give them fresh water every day or every other day.

  5. Sheer heaven on earth. And how good does your house smell now?

    xo j

  6. Beautiful gardens! That Yucca in the urn reminds me of an ancient headdress.

  7. Beautiful, looks like a great day.

  8. stunning gardens + what generous friends + how blessed you are. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

  9. So lush and green! Of course I adore the peonies you gathered Meg!
    The Arts by Karena

    1. Karen - we have had a lot of rain and a very cool spring, so everything is very lush and green!

  10. Thank you so much for the divine beautiful visual

    So lovely!!

    We cannot grow them here! (I am not complaining); but when I see yours blooming; I know I can buy them here!~ I will rush out tomorrow!!


    1. Penelope - but you can grow a lot that we can't, so we're even!


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