My visit to the Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown, NY

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Here I am at the entrance to the Farmers' Museum: the Colonial Revival Styled Barn designed by Frank Whiting

Here I am at the entrance to the Farmers’ Museum; the Colonial Revival Styled Barn designed by Frank Whiting

Located in central New York, one mile north of the Village of Cooperstown, on the west side of Otsego Lake is the Farmers’ Museum. The museum is sited at 5775 State Highway 80 Cooperstown, NY 13326, which is on land that was once owned by the popular and prolific early 19th century writer James Fenimore Cooper. Cooper was the author of The Last of the Mohicans. Since Cooper’s days, the land changed hands a couple of times, until the Clark family bought “Fenimore Farm” in the 1870s. Edward Severin Clark in 1918 commissioned architect Frank Whiting to design a Colonial Revival Styled barn, creamery and herdsman’s cottage using local stone. Those buildings were erected to house his prized herd of cattle, and are now offices, display and public areas that you first see and enter through before you step back in time to rural life in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

The Farmers’ Museum is a private, non-governmental educational organization. The 19th century historic village that makes up the museum, and houses over 23,000 items, ranging from butter molds to the Cardiff Giant, is composed of buildings not initially built on the property, but gathered from rural communities around central New York State. All the restored buildings provide a glimpse into the commercial and domestic life led by rural people of the time.

Recently I attended the Member’s Meeting for the New York State Historical Association, which is on the campus that makes up The Farmers’ Museum and The Fenimore Art Museum, so I took my camera along. For this post I am showing you one of my favorite places The Farmers’ Museum. Hope you like my little tour. (Click on photos to expand images) Continue reading

Posted in Garden Visits (Road Trips), The Summer Garden | 7 Comments

A Look at My Garden here at Whimsey Hill House (June 2014)

The Front Garden here at Whimsey Hill House June 2014

The Front Garden here at Whimsey Hill House June 2014

June is a transitional and busy month in the garden. The many hundreds of daffodils that I’ve planted years ago (there used to be over a thousand) have finished blooming, and the perennials have all come up and are doing fine. The main colors in the June garden are pinks, blues, whites and purples that come from the peonies, iris, lupine, columbine and bleeding hearts that used to grow in my grandmother’s garden, and the different colors of the many perennial plant’s leaves; green, blue-green, chartreuse, burgundy and gray. I have many times thought that with the minimal amount of plants blooming, and with the different colors and textures of the plant’s foliage, there is kind of a Zen quality to the beds and borders at this time of year.

June is a super busy month for me, I seem to be working constantly. Besides all the perennials that come up yearly, there are tender bulbs and tubers like canna, elephant ear plants, dahlias and gladioli that I planted on or around May first that start showing up; as well as hundreds if not thousands of annuals that have self seeded from last year like cleome, amaranths, gloriosa daisies and cosmos to contend with, not to mention the pesky weeds and grasses that fill the beds and borders that have to be pulled out and thrown away.

This year I bought twenty six packages of different kinds of annual seeds that I planted up in pots at the end of April to plant in-between the perennials so there would be spots of constant color in the garden until the first frost. Last year I had success starting a few different packets of zinnias and cosmos seeds, so this year I thought I would try some other things. This year I planted many different varieties of zinnias, white and yellow marigolds, alyssum and sunflowers that all came up in abundance with no problems. I thought, when buying my seeds, why not grow things like Bells of Ireland, Brazilian Vervain (verbena) and Heliotrope (Dwarf Marine), you know, the kind of plants that you see selling for five dollars each at the garden center. I now know why they are priced at $5. Those kinds of plants are finicky as hell, and even when they sprout just sit there not wanting to grow a bit. Now I know what the phrase “Hot House Flower” refers to. Along with the annuals I started, I bought four flats of red salvia to plant at the garden’s edge and a lot of Wave Petunias and other things to fill the many hanging baskets, pots and planters that I plant up yearly. So now that I’ve almost completed my Spring planting, I want to show you what I’ve done so far. Continue reading

Posted in Fred's Garden at Whimsey Hill House, The Spring Garden | 6 Comments

Starting a Rose Bush and other plants from a Cutting (Slip)

Starting a Rose Bush from a Slip

For as long as I can remember, my Grandmother, Mother, and Aunts were always starting new plants from cuttings (slips). I think they called them slips because, they tore the piece of plant material from the donor plant, instead of cutting it off. They wanted a piece of plant skin, on the slip, they called it the tail. Well, for what ever reason they did it that way, they were able to start a large assortment of different plants, besides rose bushes. Aunt Anna started a nice collection of Blue Spruce trees, along with Roses, Euonymus, and Lilacs, that I still have. My Mother started many Roses, as well as Azaleas, Blue Spruce, Spiraea, and Hydrangea, to name a few. My maternal Grandmother was soo good at it, that she had many odd bushes and trees, and I know she could get a broom handle to root, if she put her mind to it. So this is what those Gardening Gals did… Continue reading

Posted in Bushes, Shrubs, Trees, Roses, Peonies, Tulips, etc, The Spring Garden, The Summer Garden | 19 Comments

My Peonies don’t / won’t bloom.

Peonies

My Peonies don’t/won’t bloom is a lament uttered by many gardeners. There are three possible reasons why a peony won’t bloom… Continue reading

Posted in Roses, Peonies, Tulips, etc, The Autumn(Fall) Garden, The Spring Garden | 3 Comments

A different kind of container to plant Hen and Chicks in

The PERFECT Centerpiece for a Picnic Table

The PERFECT Centerpiece for a Picnic Table

Plant Hen and Chicks (Sempervivum) in old Cupcake or Muffin Pans

Plant Hen and Chicks (Sempervivum) in old Cupcake or Muffin Pans

A few years ago I started collecting different varieties of hen and chicks (Sempervivum). I think I took interest in them because I had already planted the “big stuff” like bushes and trees, as well as all kinds of perennials on my property, and I have a strip of crushed stone behind my house that needed decorating; so hen and chicks I thought would do good there.

After buying my first few hen and chicks (sembervivum) I quickly found out their likes and dislikes. Sempervivum like sun. Hen and chicks don’t need or probably even want fertile soil to grow in, and above all else don’t want, like or need too much water. Over watering is the number one way to kill them; I learned that the hard way.

Years ago I bought an expensive and quite oddly beautiful sempervivum at the White Flower Farm in Litchfield, Ct. I got it home, planted it up in good soil, gave it a good drink and a week later it had died. The plant was perfectly healthy when I bought it, but too much of my “Tender Loving Care” killed it. I now know less is more when it pertains to hen and chicks, as they don’t know when to stop taking in water, which over hydrates the plant, which brings on its demise.

This post is about planting up hens and chicks in cupcake, muffin or popover tins, here is how I planted up mine. Continue reading

Posted in Roses, Peonies, Tulips, etc, The Spring Garden | 2 Comments

Martha was there and so was I, TRADE SECRETS CT. Sharon Connecticut

One more unusual thing catching Martha Stewart's eye at Trade Secrets

One more unusual thing catching Martha Stewart’s eye at Trade Secrets

Each May on the Saturday and Sunday following Mother’s Day, plant and garden antiques lovers from everywhere journey to picturesque north-west Connecticut for Trade Secrets. Trade secrets is a two-day event to benefit Women’s Support Services of Sharon, Ct., which is a non-profit domestic violence organization that provides crisis intervention, counseling and education as well as legal, medical and housing assistance to fulfill its mission of creating a community free of domestic violence.

Trade Secrets started in Bunny Williams and her husband John Rosselli’s back yard (country estate) in Falls Village, Ct. Bunny is a nationally known interior designer, author of books on interior decorating and gardening, and has lectured, her husband John is a well-known antiques dealer, and together they own Treillage on 75th Street in NYC. When she had a few too many (extra) plants in her greenhouse, Bunny thought why not sell them for charity, so the Woman’s Support Service was called in, along with some local and regional plant purveyors and garden antiques dealers. The group joined together with their offerings, invited in the local and regional people and a stellar gardening event was born. The Trade Secrets plant sale quickly outgrew Bunny and John’s property so it moved on to the Wake Robin Inn, then it migrated to the estate of Elaine LaRoche called “LionRock Farm” in Sharon, Ct where it is held now. From its conception, Trade Secrets has grown into a world-class display of the best of the best, with now 60 venders displaying the most unusual treasures ever seen. Trade Secrets is like going shopping through 60 of the most unique and upscale stores in one day, while enjoying the fresh country air and magnificent views from Elaine LaRoche’s LionRock Farm. Continue reading

Posted in Garden Visits (Road Trips), The Spring Garden | 8 Comments

An Easy to Make and Inexpensive Trellis for Clematis, Morning Glories and other Vines

An Easy to make Trellis for Climbing Vines

An Easy to make Trellis for Climbing Vines

A few years ago I was invited to friends’ house for supper. Before the couple started the barbecue, they gave me a quick tour of their garden. The husband had started a collection of clematis vines and planted six or more of them in a row along a wooden privacy fence that separated their land from the neighbors. The clematis were all growing fine, but the thing that disturbed me most was that each of the clematis was planted along side a decorative trellis. Each of the trellises that they chose would be a welcome addition to any garden, but having all of those different styles of plant supports in a row was just too much of a good thing to see (very busy looking).

Here at Whimsey Hill, I have a dozen or so clematis and some decorative trellises that I’ve picked up over the years, but most of my vine supports are much less fancy. To me, a fancy trellis is fine in certain places in the garden, but most of the time I think it should be about the plant, not what it grows up on. This post is about how I make my inexpensive trellises for the clematis and morning glory vines I grow in my garden. Continue reading

Posted in The Spring Garden | 3 Comments

It Really starts feeling like Spring when I bring out the Lawn Furniture and Fill Planting Containers

IMG_0290IMG_0291 Last week, with the nightly temperatures rising a bit and days looking to not be that cold, I decided it was time to put out the lawn furniture and the more delicate garden ornaments (accessories). It is surprising that with just a few hours work and some lawn furniture, garden ornaments and planting containers, how quickly my property was transformed from the ho-hum that I see during Winter, to a much more visually pleasing sight for my eyes to view, and I didn’t even have to plant up my containers with late Spring and Summer annuals to have something to look at.

Now let’s look at the first photos, the cover photos for this post. Continue reading

Posted in Fred's Garden at Whimsey Hill House, Garden Design Principles, The Spring Garden, The Summer Garden | 4 Comments

A Garden Tour of My Property. It might be Spring, but You should be thinking Winter Interest when Planning your Garden

Evergreens provide Year-Round interest in the Garden, Plant them First

Evergreens provide Year-Round interest in the Garden, Plant them First

After getting over a Winter here in upstate New York that was snowier and colder than recent years past, everyone I know is soo glad it’s finally getting warmer and signs of Spring are showing up. All the garden folk that I’ve come across just can’t wait to be outside to start the preparation for the growing season soon to come.

It is still much too early to plant annuals, and perennials are just starting to show signs of coming back to life, but when the ground has warmed up and dried out a bit more, evergreens and deciduous bushes and trees can be planted in the garden.

When a person is thinking about gardening, especially here in the north-east, they should not just put attention onto annuals or perennials that are seen for 5 or 6 months a year, but think about evergreens in the garden and around their property that provide something to look at 365 days a year.

Here at Whimsey Hill House, I’ve put a lot of thought into placing all different shapes, sizes, colors and heights of evergreens and deciduous bushes and trees on my property so I have something to look at, out through every window in my house, or while outdoors, during the coldest and darkest days of Winter when nothing is growing. This post is a garden tour of my property, right after the beginning of the Spring cleanup, which shows how I’ve placed evergreens on my land. The evergreens are the stars of my garden from November until almost May, but as perennials start to emerge and annuals are added to the garden beds, they have a way of stepping back and going from star to supporting cast. Continue reading

Posted in Bushes, Shrubs, Trees, Fred's Garden at Whimsey Hill House, Garden Design Principles, The Spring Garden, The Winter Garden | Leave a comment