November 9, 2014

A Country Garden: After the Frost

We had our first killing frost of the season over the weekend, and I took the opportunity to do a final chapter in my series on a country garden. You can see the previous posts at the end of August, at the height of summer, and at the beginning of June. The bones of the garden are now exposed and you can see the framework on which the beautiful gardens have been built.

As I walked down the garden path, I realized that the urn that had held a magnificent yucca plant, now held a small conifer, just waiting to be decorated with white lights at Christmas. IMG_5425

The hydrangeas which had been so gorgeous only months earlier, had dried and were rattling in the breeze. However, two steadfast and sturdy hold-outs remained. IMG_5434

The fountain still sparkles in the sun, but soon it will be turned off as the temperatures drop below freezing. IMG_5437

As I headed out towards the main gardens, I was reminded of how much I love this vista, garden (8)and then walking down the steps that are covered with years of lichen, to the gardens (9)

The cutting garden took a big hit with the first frost and all of the remaining dahlias dropped overnight. They will now be cut down and the tubers will be overwintered in the greenhouse, to be planted again next spring. You can just barely see my hand holding this dahlia. garden (18)

The hydrangea heads have all dried and the make a nice counterpoint to the leafless trees in the woods beyond. garden (10)

A lone spade remained in the garden as a reminder that there’s still lots of work to do to put the gardens to bed for the winter. garden (13)

The armillary, which is at the center of the garden now stand (16)

I left the cutting garden and began walking over to the vegetable garden. It’s immediately apparent how much thought, and work, has gone into making this such a special place, when you see vistas like this one. garden (20)

The huge datura plant has now gone to seed, and when I looked closely, I could just make out the words “Baltimore, MD” at the base of the iron urn which had held the banana plant. garden (24)

There were still a few hyacinth beans left on the arbour, their brilliant purple being a bright spot of colour. garden (27)

It was sad to see the dahlias drooping, after how pretty they were just a month or two ago. This one was making a valiant effort to stand against the elements. garden (29)

The espalliered apples have been pruned back to encourage new growth next year and prevent diseasegarden (31)

The low clear autumn light was perfect for catching the sun highlighting the rainbow chard stalks.

garden (32)
garden (34)

One of my favourite images is these last remaining fig leaves catching the morning sun. They almost appear to be floating in the (36)

As I rounded the corner to return to the driveway, I came across a part of the garden that I hadn’t seen before. There before me stood a magnificent buck, just basking in the (42)

And beyond him, a classical allĂ©e of trees culminating in the focal point of an even more classical urn and a bench for resting, and contemplating  how fortunate I am to be able to spend time in a place like (43)

As I headed out the driveway, the sparkle of the sun glittering on the pond caught my eye. garden (47)

And I smiled to see the sweet little red barn, happily basking in the (49)

While I am anxious to take pictures of the garden in the snow, I’d be happy if it’s still a month or so before it arrives!


  1. Beautiful pictures Meg! The cycle of life and all but I still do not like Fall.

  2. Much obliged for you to share with your readers this lovely garden.Yes, much works looks to be done but when plants are on their last legs there is not a struggle. The compost pile will be huge in a day or two. Your friend Jonathan must have assistance to maintain such a garden. Many eager to learn tricks of the trade ie 4H, Boy Scouts, FFA members should see this post.

  3. This is my favorite time of year! Gorgeous photos. None of my hydrangeas had a single bloom this year, here on Long Island. My aunt in North Carolina said hers didn't bloom, either. I thought maybe it was true everywhere... but I see yours had loads!

  4. Hi Meg, Thank you for this beautiful post. I love all of the season's but fall is my favorite. Time for refocusing and preparation. Have a beautiful week.

  5. beautiful photos.

  6. Such a vivid picture of the part of the country where winter will come. Beautiful.

  7. Absolutely gorgeous! Thank you so much for your wonderful blog sharing these exquisite pictures!

    (especially 'Conner')!!!

    this garden is magnificent! We can learn so much from it!

    Thank you!



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