We high tailed it out-of-town early on Saturday morning with anticipation for this new experience. I had a map but really had no idea about where we were headed. A friend told me that just north of the Reading area there was hiking, horse back riding, beautiful mountains, and a memorable family experience for cutting your own Christmas tree.
So, up rt 61 we went. With a quick detour to Dunkin Donuts, in Cabela’s shadow, we then hopped on to 309 and that is when the land and sky started to open up to rolling hills and quiet roads. Driving between the two mountain ranges, Bear Mountain and Blue Mountain,was like driving right into an Andrew Wyeth painting.
After an idyllic drive and up a winding road we had arrived! Our day with Nadia Hassani, blogger, cookbook author, and Master Gardener (is there a better combo?) was about to be written. ps… be sure to visit the links I just provided to learn more about what Nadia is up to and all about.
This is how the garden tour began…
Built on several acres of former farm fields the transformation of this property began in 1986. You can’t image the gorgeous drive to the home that has fields full of Queen Anne’s lace and is dotted with trees. It turns out each tree was planted with intention on an empty landscape. Initially the property was a barren, sloped, wide open hill. After she and Ted married Nadia got her hands dirty. More transformation occurred when they took on the arduous task of moving earth to create multiple gardens on their hill top….best described as large tiers of gardens.
We began our tour in the Theatre Garden which boasted a stunning view (each view was) of the Mahoning Valley. As a backdrop to the Theatre Garden and on a slight incline, is an herb garden. I just love this frog who found his home here. He is hugged by Lady’s Bedstraw (or Yellow Bedstraw, Gallium verum)
and cone flowers (echinacea). He also shares his garden with thyme, oregano, Jerusalem artichoke (which Nadia particularly enjoys incorporating into a dish or two), chives, sages, and sorrel to name just a few.
This is the view from the Theatre Garden, just before the sun parted the clouds. Nadia found inspiration for the marble bench during the winter months and her husband designed it. The bench is titled the Nevicata bench and it’s now a perfect place to perch and enjoy a book or a garden show. Nadia said there were many a child’s performance in this garden. A beautiful place where memories are made.
On to the next green space, The Marble Garden, tucked under the kitchen window with a view of Mahoning Valley. I especially love this garden for all the sedum that fills the spaces in between, view of the winding trail to the barn and fields of Queen Anne’s lace.
Just a lovely bed of uncomplicated green. Nadia shared that most of her gardening success was a trial an error method. She was especially surprised and pleased with the success of her Korean dwarf lilac.
Seriously, is this not the most peaceful view? That might be Bear Mountain in the far background.
More from the marble garden…
Now we are on our way to the Outlook garden…not without a quick stop by a butterfly hang out … with the milkweed. I’d chill here if I was a monarch butterfly. Wouldn’t you?
On the way to Outlook, we made a stop in an open field where a Chinese rain tree was plated in a circle of chocolate mint. Nadia & Ted’s children would play on this tree as children and as she is telling us this I’m thinking Shel Silverstein’s Giving Tree….but this Chinese rain tree has a better ending (still standing). Surprise! There is also some Queen Anne’s mixed with the chocolate mint and I grabbed this photo of the tree’s flower/pod.
We made it to the Outlook. I wanted to stay a while… but we had more places to go… the next post will be the veggie garden portion.