Monday, July 23, 2007

Cool stuff at Blithewold

I got this email through the Greenwimmen (a small, local organization of ladies in the biz) a couple of days ago. There are a lot of neat classes and lectures at Blithewold this coming check it out!


Wednesday, September 19, 5:00 to dusk

Join us for wine, music, and flowers in the Display Garden at Blithewold. As the boats take a sojourn from the mundane and indulge yourself in Italian wine, gourmet cheese, and music by the Mark and Beverly Davis Guitar Duo. The Display Garden is contagious with energy and new ideas; a flurry of discovery and wonderment accompany its two peak explosions of color, texture, and scent. Enjoy the company of old friends and new, chat with staff horticulturists, stroll the grounds, and bring a picnic dinner to celebrate the season with us in high style.

In the event of rain, the soirée will be held in the mansion. Price includes 2 glasses of wine per person.

Single Soirée: $15 per individual/$25 per couple. Package of four Soirées: $50 per individual/$90 per couple and $40 per individual/$70 per couple for members.

ONE GARDENER’S OBSESSION: An Intimate Tour of a Private Garden
Wednesday, August 15, 6:00 – 8:00

Every garden has a story to tell, and much is learned when gardeners get together to share their secrets, triumphs, and tribulations. Virginia Purviance grew up with gardening in her blood and has been cultivating her Aquidneck Island property for thirty years, complete with specimen trees and five disparate gardens featuring long borders of shrubs and perennials, an enclosed memorial garden, an experimental nursery area, and a unique collection of art. Ginny’s passionate guided tour will inspire you with stories of accidental beauty, lessons learned, and other colorful threads that make up the fabric of her garden’s ongoing evolution over time. Light refreshments will be served.

Virginia Purviance, graduate of the Radcliffe Garden Design Seminars, retired from her landscape design practice three years ago. She lives in Middletown with husband Jim who indulges her obsession and has learned to use a chain saw, a rake and shovel like a pro.
Registration limited and required in advance - $15 Members, $20 Nonmembers

Saturday September 8, 10:00 - 4:00; Tuesday, September 11, 6:30 – 8:30; Saturday, September 15, 2:00 – 3:30

Work with designer Ed Lindemann in this 3-part workshop to develop or improve the basic design of a specific garden area on your property. Session 1 will include an illustrated lecture about garden structure and space, as well as a demonstration of how to sketch your project, evaluate your needs, and achieve your desired result. Session 2 offers studio time to develop your project on paper and receive valuable hands-on help from Ed. Session 3 meets off-site at a private Little Compton garden that incorporates Ed’s designs, encouraging lively discussion of design, plants, hardscaping, and garden ornament.

Ed Lindemann began his practice as aprofessional Landscape and Garden Designer in 1964 and works on residential design projects along the east coast.
$100 Members, $125 Non-members

Sunday, September 16, 1:00 – 2:00

The Blithewold garden fairies need new homes! Spend an enchanted afternoon with Gardens Manager Gail Read in the Water Garden creating tiny fairy houses out of natural materials and found objects to entice fairies old and new to visit. We will read stories about fairy lore and other woodland mysteries and enjoy a light snack. Bring your imagination and a blanket for relaxing outdoors. Family program for adult-children groups of all ages.

$5 Members, $7 Non-members

Saturday, September 22, 10:00 - 3:00

In its seventh year, Blithewold Fall Gardener’s Day celebrates the harvest and all that is locally grown. Farmers and horticultural professionals will lead workshops, answer questions, and sell their goods. This event provides opportunity to learn new growing tips, sample the region’s goods, and network with community gardeners, green professionals, and farmers.
Pre-registration is not required.$5 Members, $10 Non-members

Tuesday, September 25 through Friday, September 28, 9:00 - 4:15

Award-winning sculptor DJ Garrity will lead this fascinating exploration of three dimensional form through the ageless process of stone sculpture. Students will be guided through the process of creating their own unique garden sculpture with a hands-on approach designed to impart a basic understanding of the medium of stone, sculpture tools, techniques, and the three-dimensional aspects of portraiture. All materials supplied.
$375 per student

Wednesday, September 26, 3:30 - 5:00

Awaken your senses with an outdoor exploration of Blithewold. Appreciate the colors, scents, sounds, and tastes of the grounds and gardens as Education Coordinator Debbie Olstein leads a variety of hands-on activities focusing on nature discovery. Bring lots of curiosity and a sense of adventure! Family program for adult-children groups; most appropriate for children ages 5-9
$5 Members, $7 Non-members

CRAZY FOR CRANESBILL: All about Hardy Geraniums
Thursday, October 11, 6:30 - 8:30

Discover Hardy Geraniums, otherwise known as ‘Cranesbill” for their beakshaped seed. These easy to grow species are diverse in color and form. Geranium enthusiast Mary Anne Brady will explain how these versatile plants are used as ground cover and border specimens in multiple garden locations. Propagation methods will be demonstrated and you will have the opportunity to work directly with plants. A diverse collection of Hardy Geraniums will be available during the workshop and for purchase.

Mary Anne Brady is a URI Master Gardener and a Rhode Island Certified Horticulturist. She is owner of a small garden design business and Cranesbill nursery.
$12 Members, $15 Non-members

Saturday, October 13, 10:00 - 11:30

Join us as we create terrariums, beautiful micro ecosystems that thrive indoors and liven up the home or office. Expect to get your hands dirty along side horticulturists Gail Read and Kris Green as we learn how to balance the needs of the terrarium environment with soil, plants, and water. A unique selection of terrarium plants have been propagated in the greenhouse in preparation for this popular program and will be available for use, along with all necessary materials.
$30 Members, $35 Non-members

Saturday, October 20, 10:30 – 12:00

Don’t let cold temperatures and shorter days outside stop you from growing fresh flowers indoors! Join our Director of Horticulture Julie Morris for an interactive session that demonstrates how to force bulbs and create striking container arrangements. Each participant will design and plant three pots containing a variety of bulbs such as iris, tulips, and daffodils to enjoy at home or to give as a special gift.
$30 Members, $35 Non-members

Thursday, November 15, 10:00

Preeminent landscape architect Douglas Reed will explore his creative design process and the ways in which his work forges a deeper connection between people and the landscape. This scintillating discussion concludes with a relaxing luncheon with friends overlooking the estuary at the Rhode Island Country Club in Barrington.

Douglas Reed is principal and founder of the firm Reed Hilderbrand of Watertown, Massachusetts. He has built a reputation for excellence in design with award winning projects that engage the intersection of nature and culture
Before October 15 - $65 Members, $75 Non-membersAfter October 15 - $75 Members, $85 Non-members

Register Online at or call (401)-253-2707 ext. 21

Thursday, July 19, 2007

RAIN!!! Finally!

I started this post late last night and have to finish it this morning. I fell asleep with the on the couch with laptop on my lap! I woke up to Conan O'Brien blaring and the laptop in sleep mode. Good goin' Cris, let's try this again. (Thank goodness Blogspot autosaves posts)

This summer has been pretty dry...drier than we've had to deal with in the past couple of years. That was a wonderful rain yesterday and more tomorrow. It's amazing how different New England weather is, my Dad in NH says it has rained every day where he is since Father's Day. Anyway, we've got some rain and I can relax on hose duty for a while. I've got some rain barrels on order and I'm eagerly awaiting them.

Let's see...things going on in GC HQ this week...we have creatures that resemble and hop like frogs. There are many more in the wings too. Sam will probably find the pond much more interesting now. Check this guy out...a mere week ago he was more tapole than he was frog. I shall call him "Frogpole!" He doesn't look happy to have my camera zoomed in on him. Get over it, dude...if you live in my yard, expect to be stalked like Britney by a paparazzo. There is an update on this guy this morning...he has crossed over to a true frog...he lost his tail! I'm not sure where it went...but I'm not going to ask. :)

I was out taking photos of some of the goodies in bloom this week. I would definitely say my gardens are geared more for a summer show. That's something I have to work on, getting color other seasons of the's just worked out that way with things I've collected from shops or other people. At least with the back wooded area, I can get more spring and fall color with those plants.I was reading The American Gardener (a magazine from the American Horticultural Society) and I got the cool idea to make Lake Larson more of an evening garden sort of place. I'll probably do that more with containers and some of the perennials in the area. I'll do that next year because a) it's fairly late in the season and b) Eric's got to build the new deck. But anyway, here are some neat flower photos:

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Hortensis Compacta'

Lilium orientale 'Stargazer'

I've got a ton more photos...but I'll post them later on.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Happy Friday the 13th!

Not much new in the yard this week...just some new water lilies from ebay (God, I love eBay!) which I'll post some photos and info on when they bloom. But, I'll offer up some random Lake photos.

My favorite koi...not that I play favorites with the "kids". He's the orange and white butterfly koi. That's "Petey" behind him because he has a circle around his eyes like Petey from the Little Rascals. I think he's Eric's favorite.

Here's an unidentified pink Water Lily we got from Piece of Paradise early this spring. I lost the tag so I don't know the variety. It started up blooming about 3 weeks ago and it just keeps cranking out the buds. I think Water Lilies are my new green addiction.

Oh! I'll show off the more productive part of our landscape: the edible garden!

This year we have strawberries, peppers, radishes, watermelons, cukes, beans, a variety of tomatoes, peas, carrots, squash, blueberries, raspberries, Concord grapes, hops, a peach tree, and a bunch of different herbs. So far, we've harvested radishes, herbs, and peas. The squirrels got to the Strawberries before we could. The blueberries aren't as vigorous as last year and we're wondering if they suffered some damage from the wacky winter we had. We'll have to see if they do better next year.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Even bigger changes

The 4th brought us an arborist, a tree truck, and a whole lot of chainsawing and wood chipping. Eric and Daren were out there from 9-ish am to 3-ish pm. I didn't take any photos of the massacre and stayed inside the heck out of the way. I know, don't bother men when they are doing things like this ruins the testosterone mojo of chainsaws and wood chippers. But I do have photos of the aftermath:


It took another weekend for Eric to saw up the lumber and us to carry away all of the debris. This is what we're left with:

What was once a shade backyard is now part to full sun and my vision for what was going to happen there is completely shot. Back to square one for the back yard which is fine. It's been about a week now and I think the initial shock has worn off. I was (dare I say it) almost overwhelmed by the difference in the yard. See, I can walk into a yard that completely overwhelms someone else and tell them what they need to do, but my own yard...different story. Stay tuned to the new direction of the back yard!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

HUGE changes to the Lake Larson area

I know I haven't been forthcoming with updates of Lake Larson this year. But Eric's been busy out there with more "OH MY GOD projects". Those of you who are clients of mine know of these "OMG Projects". They are the projects where I happen upon in progress (usually as I am pulling into the driveway) and think "OH MY GOD, what's he doing!

Here's a photo diary of the latest OMG Project. Eric added a stone patio and walkway leading from the driveway to the lake area and the much anticipated new deck (aka my outdoor office.) Anyway, we have lots of trees near by that just about pushed me over the edge this spring with all of their junk falling into the pond. I was the undeniable Queen of Pond Skimming. Here's Lake Larson a couple of weeks ago:

Since I was fairly bent out of shape about the constant skimming of junk, we talked about taking down the tree closest to the Lake. After all, it has been dripping foaming ooze from it's limbs when it rains and there is a big hole in it which houses a family of squirrels. Eric had been watching to see when the squirrel babies would leave the tree so he and one of the arborists from work could take it down. Eric decided with the help of the neighbor to start limbing up the neighboring tree while he was waiting for the babies to leave the nest. By the end of the day, he decided to take that one down too when Daren was supposed to come over.

So, fast forward about a week. Eric came home somewhat early on a Friday and while still dressed in his work garb, he vanished outside. I think he's going to mow the worries, right? I'm in my office and I don't hear the mower running for a lot longer than it would take him to get it started. Then, I hear a chainsaw fire up. I wander out into the kitchen and see this:

Now, that sight warrants an "OH MY GOD, what's he doing!!! Please take note of the line tied off to another tree off screen. Some how (he claims practice at work) he drops the tree right in between the Lake and the large Oak to the right. Our other neighbor and I were rather impressed.

Thank god we did take the tree down, because it was a hollow as it could have been inside which had it's own OMG comments from both of us.


Salutations and an easier way to update what's going on in my yard.

I've been kicking around this idea for a while as a faster way and more in depth way for me to show everyone what has been going on at Chez Larson. I think almost every one has a blog now and I have one for personal, dumb stuff for friends and family. Things change so quickly in my yard that trying to do web updates in the middle of spring and summer is a little tough. Something like this that's quick and deadly will be much more manageable for me and more fun for the reader because this also should be more user friendly.

Please feel free to bookmark this as it should be updated fairly often or subscribe to the feeds if you like.

So, welcome to the birth of the Garden Consultant's Blog and I hope you enjoy!

~ Cris