February: Feel the Foerster!

February 21, 2020, Beach Meadows

Dear Philip, 
Just back from Port, a bitter cold day. The sun was blazing in a near cloudless, end-of-life-blue sky but to no avail: I had to blast the heat once I made it back to the car and it wasn’t until I reached Beach meadows before my finger tips stopped screaming at me.

Future home of Lobster Land

I popped over to the gardens just briefly for a peek and to grab a wheelbarrow from the barn but the lock was frozen solid. De-icer tomorrow. I’m moving some wood from the new land that’s being cleared (see the photo). Rachel was going to a tack a “Lynn’s Place” sign  for all the curious onlookers craning their necks to see what the sam hill is going on in there but I have the  “FUTURE HOME OF LOBSTER LAND THEME PARK”  sign already made. 

I’m happy you enjoyed the mid-month photo gallery I sent along. Lighting plays a big role in the winter garden (well, at any time of the year, I reckon) but the oblique angle of the winter sun really adds some drama to the subtle, subdued hues of the gardens:  russet, umber, straw blonde, iron oxide, all so calming. I’m drawn to these earthier tones and it’s probably another reason I really love the gardens in winter.  The grasses are particularly entertaining:  The Karl Foerster  (yes, the same Karl ‘Phlox’ FOERSTER who opined, boldly that “life without phlox is a mistake”) feather reed grass is a real pleasure to see in the sun, the stalks still sentinel and the plumes so fine, so delicate. I’m glad we bought a bunch more at the autumn sales. They should really take off in the pollinator garden this summer. And the Japanese forest grass has gone completely rogue, any order right out the window; nothing but a tumble of dried foliage but it’s just gorgeous when it catches the sun from behind.

My anemone fetish persists: The alien eyes are starting to become cottony and those tight, pursed buttons have softened. Seeds… They won’t stand a chance against the winds. Expect more offspring from those three plants from a few years ago.


The rugosa rose hips are shriveled or have dropped, the ones not carted off by the squirrels who have lost interest in them in their dessicated, wizened state. The remaining sepals are like star fish and very beautiful to see bouncing about in the wind but are not long for this world: I’ll be cutting back the rugosa soon. The seaside garden will be a different landscape after this annual haircut but those roses are, as you know, so robust. I may take them back a little more this year. I’ve heard that if you cut them near to the ground, they’ll rebound like crazy but we don’t seem to have that problem. I might experiment with a patch just to see the difference. 


The  forsythia that ate Port Medway (okay, I did prune the heck out of it in November but wowzie, that really is some shrubbery) is neat to see now: that bush has some wild warp and weft going on which explains how girdled I get when I’m in the middle of a deep prune. A botanical iron maiden. 

Well, off to stoke the fires. The deep freeze continues into the night.  Looking forward to that martini and our wood lot reforestation project! As always, hi to Cynthia.  I’ll close off with a few more photos of what’s going on in the gardens. Lynn

A quick P.S. Here are some photos of the apple orchard. We aren’t pruning this year, correct? I’ll probably spend a few hours nipping off the vertical water sprouts so we don’t end up with branches where we don’t want them. They say you should be able to toss a cow (?!) or a hat through the trees and I think we’re almost there. So just those water sprouts for 2020. Over and out. L

My dear Lynn,
That Karl Foerster! The Chicago Botanic Garden blog reports on his grass: “This hybrid of two species native to Europe and Asia can thank German nurseryman Karl Foerster (1874–1970), for discovering the species in the 1930s along a railway in Germany. It is reported that he pulled the emergency brake on the train he was riding in order to collect the plant.” Apparently he was also an excellent photographer. Our kind of guy! Too bad he’s dead, we could have all have gone for a drink at The Port Grocer and talked grass.

Exciting that the road is going in on the new land – Lynn’s Place.

As you know, I’m off to Japan shortly, and one thing I’m going to do is tour the gardens of Kyoto with Judith Clancy, who has written a book about the Japanese gardener’s art. Maybe I’ll get some ideas. I’ve been thinking about that partly submerged stream behind the cottage, the one that runs through that scrub land. Could we do something with that, some kind of Japanese water feature? Be afraid.

Spring is coming. Meanwhile there is the beautiful winter garden… Wonderful photographs by you, as always.

The Point

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