Flower Hill Farm Retreat
Flower Hill Farm Retreat gardens are ever changing. It is always fun to look back over beginnings. Now the landscape is quite changed… the views more open and many shrubberies standing creating forms within the gardens. I have come to understand how to manage my land for wildlife and now have hundreds of native plants thriving on this hillside.
Flower Hill Farm began as a large vegetable garden with lots of annuals. I wanted to create a magical realm for my tiny son Sean to grow up in. Brambles and some Sumac were cut … stones were heaved and hoed and gardens began to emerge.
Cosmos and Cleomes were great favorites.
Cosmos would spill down the hillside along with Dahlias!
Later perennials took center stage! Over three hundred varieties early on.
A lush tapestry of thousands of plants carpeted the land. You can see the forest and wild sumac was not far from the edge of the gardens. There are no shrubs planted here yet. This would have been around 1989 making the gardens about ten years old. At this time I was not so aware of the importance of native plantings and mostly planted exotic perennials.
Herb Gardens covered the second terrace . . . textured as a tapestry.
Every year more land was opened to plant various perennials.
Iris, Poppies, Lupines and Peonies. The Peonies are all that remain of this bed. Wisteria colonnade some of the first woody plants to be included. If only I had given them stronger supports!!
Ever Changing Compositions. Clematis jackmanii. It took many hands to maintain these gardens. I was so fortunate to have a retired Smith College gardener helping me when the gardens were about five years old. Ed and I developed the rock gardens but they were truly Ed’s love and he mostly created and cared for them. There is not much left of them now. Except for the rocks of course.
The early gardens were plants only and for many years they were lovely, but incredibly hard to maintain especially when goutweed began taking hold.