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A Visit to Flower Hill Farm

June 9, 2010

Flower Hill Farm (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) Many of us enjoy our virtual visits to Flower Hill Farm via Carol’s blog and the wonderful photography featured there. Recently, I was lucky enough to visit Flower Hill Farm in person, along with Liisa, the Green Mountain Gardener. The gardens Carol has created at Flower Hill Farm are even more beautiful in person than in her photos. It is a magical place.

The gardens are mostly located behind the federal-period farm house, where the ground slopes downward away from the house and provides breathtaking views of the hills beyond. Carol has landscaped the property into a series of meadow-like terraces, defined by plantings of trees and shrubs and connected by grassy paths.

Immediately behind the house, a cottage garden provides a lovely spot for a meal or afternoon tea. Flower Hill Farm (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)
Flower Hill Farm (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) It also provides a view of this meadow of beautiful flowers.

Grassy paths beckon you to descend from one level to the next.

A beckoning path at Flower Hill Farm  (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)And at each destination, there is a place to sit and enjoy the sights, sounds, and scents of the garden.

Seating area at Flower Hill Farm (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)Place to sit and contemplate at Flower Hill Farm (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) A place to stop and enjoy the beauties of Flower Hill Farm (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)

Carol not only treated Liisa and me to the hospitality of Flower Hill Farm; she also took us on a tour of gardens and nurseries in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts.

At Smith College, we visited the Botanic Garden, with its beautiful plantings Smith College Botanic Garden (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)
Kousa dogwood at Smith College Botanic Garden (photo credit: Jean Potuchek) … and wonderful trees like this Cornus kousa.
We also visited the Lyman Conservatory at Smith, where the delights included a collection of orchids, Lyman conservatory orchid (photo credit: Jean Potuchek
… and the Capen Garden, where Carol considered how to adapt the inspiration of this rustic pergola with its climbing roses to Flower Hill Farm. Carol at Capen Garden (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)

In nearby Amherst, we visited Emily Dickinson’s garden, where an excellent audio tour linked the gardens to landscape history, to the history of the Dickinson family, and to Emily Dickinson’s poetry. The Dickinson homestead as viewed from the perennial garden (photo credit: Jean Potuchek)After the inspiration of these wonderful gardens, none of us could resist buying some new plants for our own gardens. My favorites among the nurseries we visited were Nasami Farm, a native plant nursery run by the New England Wildflower Society, and Bay State Perennial Farm, which had an impressive collection of plants for sale.

I came home from my two day visit to Flower Hill Farm feeling as though I had experienced a week’s vacation. Thank you, Carol!

20 Comments leave one →
  1. June 9, 2010 9:01 am

    Jean, thank you for telling us about your visit and showing the pictures of Carol’s gorgeous garden and other places! I wish I was there with you (I’m wondering how many readers will write this phrase in their comments?)!

  2. June 9, 2010 9:32 am

    Dear Jean, How I envy the opportunity you have had to visit Flower Hill Farm and to meet Carol in person. From the very start of my weblogging I have been privileged to maintain an on going virtual dialogue with Carol and to gain insights of her wonderful garden and way of life.

    I have no doubt at all that you came away totally refreshed by your stay since I am certain that Carol is the most generous of hostesses. For my part, I have always valued her kind and thoughtful comments and the efforts which she has made to keep in touch even when she has been ill.

    I am sure that her magical gardens have made a real contribution to her recovery and how marvellous for you to have been able to share that glorious landscape.

  3. June 9, 2010 10:15 am

    Yes, I am envious, it sounds like the three of you had a wonderful time.

  4. June 9, 2010 10:48 am

    I also wish I was there. I can imagine the 3 of you had a really nice time together. Carol’s garden is just beautiful and how lucky to have seen it in person.

  5. gardeningasylum permalink
    June 9, 2010 11:06 am

    Wow – what a trip! Thanks so much for sharing a really special experience.

  6. June 9, 2010 11:36 am

    Oh! I must admit to having watery eyes as I try to write this comment Jean! I am so touched by your post and the comments here. It is so fun to see the gardens from your viewpoint! Wonderful shots! What a lovely time together this was! I have been so crazy busy and exhausted that I am so behind in blogging. I did post today too… with a promise to share yours and Liisa’s visit. I love how beautifully you have captured our sharing in this post. It was really great to meet you! I miss your bubbly laughter! Carol

  7. June 9, 2010 11:39 am

    What a beautiful post! Her garden is amazing and always looks so warm and inviting, it sounds like a wonderful day. Lovely pictures, thanks so much for taking us along. The placement of chairs in the garden is so relaxing.

  8. June 9, 2010 1:14 pm

    Jean, how fortunate that you were able to visit in Flower Hill Farm in person. I’m very envious. I read Carol’s post this morning, and it’s fun to come here and see the farm from your perspective. I wish I lived closer.

  9. June 9, 2010 2:45 pm

    I’m so glad you came to our corner of the world. It is so beautiful at this time of the year. And how wonderful that you got to visit the Dickinson Homestead. Emily and her garden are so much in the news these days. You are totally ‘au vivant’.

  10. June 9, 2010 3:16 pm

    So beautiful! Hadn’t heard of Flower Hill Farm-now must rush over to that blog and find out more!

  11. June 9, 2010 3:21 pm

    Oh, I have always wanted to visit Carol’s garden and am so happy to see that you were able to enjoy spending some time there. Your pictures are so beautiful.

  12. June 10, 2010 3:33 am

    I enjoyed browsing these photos. I would love to be able to spend some time sitting in those chairs, enjoying that view. Thanks for sharing them.

  13. sequoiagardens permalink
    June 10, 2010 6:08 am

    How wonderful to cross the Virtual Threshold! And a timely reminder that Carol is one of the Blotanists I most admire and most neglect. Ah, for 40 hours in the day —– and (free) broadband! 😉 Thanks for sharing! Jack

  14. June 10, 2010 7:20 am

    What a trip! How lucky you are to have had this tour, I’m jealous.


  15. June 10, 2010 8:02 am

    Lucky, lucky girl. Everytime I “visit” Carol’s garden, I’m in awe of her beautiful property. I’m sure it was wonderful.

  16. June 10, 2010 4:47 pm

    Wonderful photos and a very memorable excursion, it seems. May you have many more!

  17. June 10, 2010 6:34 pm

    You captured some lovely photographs of our visit. This was truly a wonderful retreat, and it was such a pleasure to meet both you and Carol. I so enjoyed the stories you shared as well as your wonderful sense of humor. I hope that we can do it again in the future.

  18. June 12, 2010 9:27 am

    Jean, thanks for your comment. That’s very interesting about the roadside ‘escapees’ from people’s garden. I googled ‘Hemerocallis fulva’ that you mentioned and I just love them. I have a little picture of mine at the bottom of my blog (right side). I have heard a story about those – that they fell off the wagons of settlers moving west and just started growing. That certainly could be true and I just love the idea of that!

    Have a lovely weekend, Diane

  19. June 12, 2010 9:40 am

    Lucky you! Carol’s place has such an evocative atmosphere. So serene. Thanks for sharing your photos. I love her meadow of blue flowers!

  20. June 15, 2010 5:19 pm

    Magical is the best word to describe Carol’s garden. It sounds like you had a great time – I saw the pictures a few days ago over at Carol’s too. 🙂 Rosie

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