Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe Vermont

On The Road with Nancy

I just returned from Stowe, Vermont and I found so many beautiful gardens to visit and enjoy. My all time favorite is at the Trapp Family Lodge. Set high up on a mountain top, the lodge has vast gardens to grow flowers, herbs, and food for their guests. They have done a lot of work on the gardens in the past few years and they are a delight. 
The gardens are a perfect example of a large, edible landscape. Stone pathways meander through generous beds. I was lucky enough to visit on an overcast day so I could snap a few photos. Of course, everything always looks better with a stunning mountain view in the background!
As I wandered around, I could just imagine what the arrangements of fresh flowers would look like inside the inn. Snapdragons of every kind were in abundance as were large stands of colorful, annual statice. The vast acreage made for masses of color. Yet, this was not your typical cutting garden or food production garden. It was laid out beautifully, for strolling and enjoying.

Ammi majus, Agastache, and zinnias
Cattle grazed in the field below. I realized I was singing "The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music" to myself.
Clary sage
Amazing peach snapdragons
Really neat dwarf zinnias
Tiny orange poppies everywhere, covered with honeybees
Every kind of daisy imaginable
Back down the mountain, as I traveled around the village of Stowe, I decided that I was in "The Land of Phlox paniculata". It was absolutely everywhere, huge stands, in every color of the rainbow. Driving the back roads, garden phlox formed the backbone of every garden I saw. Joe Pye weed filled the fields; I don't think I have ever seen so much of this native perennial in my life. It was intermingled with flat topped aster- Aster umbellatus. I fell in love with the native aster and am determined to add it to my own wild gardens. 

Sadly, the river that runs through Stowe, which was adjacent to our motel, was surrounded by invasive Japanese knotweed. While walking the recreation path, this plant was everywhere, blocking the view to the river, clogging up the edge of the trail. As I drove around the area, I could see that Japanese knotweed has become firmly established in this beautiful countryside. 

Joseph's Coat amaranth
I returned home to a completely overgrown garden. The heat wave of last week and the prolonged dry spell had really stressed out my gardens. Two consecutive Sundays away (the day I usually spend in my own gardens) made for quite a mess. I spent my first day home deadheading, chopping back giant sunflower trees that had bent down to block my path, harvesting baskets full of tomatoes, peppers, beans, lettuce, and escarole. I felt overwhelmed in the morning, tired and satisfied with the progress I made at the end of the day. The sweetest surprise? The Joseph's Coat amaranth I had planted from seed in July took my breath away with it's beauty when I rounded the corner to the south side of my house. Heat? Drought? No problem. This plant appears to love those conditions. This annual is a keeper; I hope it self sows, but I am going to plant it again next year just to be sure!