I think I may have found the perfect day trip for gardeners and their history-buff, or scenic beauty loving or camera happy spouses.
It’s a trip to Fort Ticonderoga, where in addition to the fort, the Pell family gardens, a garrison garden and a medicinal herb garden are open to the public. (Admission to the entire property is $17.50 for adults)
A brick wall encloses the family garden adjacent to the Pell home. It was designed by trailblazing landscape architect Marian Coffin in 1921 and still holds up today as a beautiful space with architecturally charming alcoves and hide-away rooms to retreat from the sun. Earl, one of the gardeners, told me that the ladies of the time would have afternoon tea in one of the alcoves-like structures and later in the evening, the men would go there to smoke their cigars. You can imagine it and probably wouldn’t mind having a space like this for yourself.
Earl was planting the vegetable garden while we were there and took a moment to answer questions, point out the resident osprey and explain the construction of a wattle fence which is made by weaving the trunks of saplings around posts hammered into the ground. It has a rustic appeal that would be appropriate in an English cottage garden or at an Adirondack retreat.
I’m sure you will come away from this outing with ideas for your own beds and borders. I saw lovely plant combinations, attractive stonework, a reflecting pool and nice use of Goat’s Beard, a native plant, that was in full plume yesterday. It is great as a back of the border planting as it stands tall – up to six feet – and dramatic with creamy white flowers that are big and bold (see bottom photo). Goat’s beard is a perennial and many people think it resembles an oversized astilbe. If you decide you would like to grow goatsbeard, choose a moist location for best results.
Oh…and when you’ve spent enough time wandering the gardens, there’s a terrific fort with massive cannons, informative exhibits, an art gallery including an oil painting by Thomas Cole, and breathtaking vistas to take in.
There is also a cafe and gift shop. In the cafe, produce grown in the garden is served.
There is so much to say about this wonderful attraction. I suggest you visit the website for more information: http://www.fortticonderoga.org Note that garden workshops and classes are held occasionally.
It is a fabulous day trip. When you go, bring your camera. Wear a hat and comfortable shoes and slather on the sunscreen.