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Early Blooms in New England

Early Blooms in New England
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The Haywards chose three different varieties that bloom simultaneously in mid-May. Malus ‘Prairie Fire’ produces pinkish buds that open to whitish-pink blooms; ‘Sugar Tyme’ features pink buds that burst into fragrant white flowers; ‘Adams’ bears carmine buds that open into reddish-pink flowers.

The crabapples continue to earn their keep throughout the seasons, especially in winter, when the leafless trees add shapely architecture to this garden. Each variety also produces abundant fruit in shades of red. The small fruits start appearing in September and persist until a flock of cedar waxwings finishes them off in late March.

Growing beneath the trees are hardy geraniums, barrenworts, and a dark-red-leaved bugleweed, inspired by a design the couple saw at a garden in England’s Cotswold Hills, near where Mary grew up. A path of stepping stones provides access through the allee and is punctuated by a ‘Winter Gem’ boxwood in a large terra-cotta pot, another touch gleaned from British gardens.

The Haywards clearly enjoy merging influences from New England with those from “Old” England to create a welcoming garden that resonates with personal meaning.

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Native Plants

The entry garden that graces Honey Sharp‘s restored 1789 farmhouse in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, showcases spring blooms from subtle to showy. From the driveway, an iron gate opens to a path that meanders through a woodland and then melds into a sunny garden next to the front terrace. The varied light conditions let Honey, a garden designer, play with a wide-ranging palette of plants. She’s especially drawn to ones that tie in with the barn-red color she chose for her home.

In late spring, Honey’s sunny garden hosts various bulbs in burgundy, white, yellow, and orange. Tall-crown imperial fritillaries, with their pendant bell-shaped blooms, are among the most dramatic. Later, purple, burgundy, and white alliums, along with magenta and pink hardy geraniums and purple salvias, resonate harmoniously with the house and the rest of the garden.

An avid environmentalist, Honey especially likes connecting her cultivated garden to the surrounding landscape, which includes many acres of woodland. Her plantings continue to evolve through the growing season, with other perennials and certain shrubs in starring roles. She designed the area to be enjoyed from inside the house as well as outdoors. Honey and her husband, Dr. David Lippman, added a sunroom that connects to the kitchen, and with floor-to-ceiling windows, it affords a panoramic view of the garden all year long.

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Gardens on Tour

Many regional gardens will be available for self-guided tours as part of The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program. For more information and to obtain a directory of participating gardens, visit:

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One Response to Early Blooms in New England

  1. Jeff Folger February 4, 2010 at 9:44 am #

    very beautiful and I can’t wait for spring flowers…

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