Saturday, July 23, 2011

Our Garden Was in Full Bloom for WREN’s Garden Tour

Last Sunday was such a spectacular summer day, and the perfect day for a tour of Adair Country Inn & Restaurant’s gardens. We were delighted that our grounds were on the WREN Garden Tour this year, as we are very proud of their history – they were designed in 1927 by the Olmstead brothers – and because their casual beauty is always such an inspiration to us and our guests, with the pretty flower borders, the lily pond, the Gate Garden, and the rolling lawns giving way to gorgeous views of the White Mountains.

We were pleased to welcome over 150 gardeners and garden aficionados on Sunday, who strolled the grounds, enjoyed the plantings, and finished up with cool refreshments prepared by head chef Orlo Coots.

This was the 5th Annual WREN Garden Tour, and proceeds are used to support all of the work that WREN does through its programs, the Local Works store, and the art gallery. The tour featured seven outstanding gardens, all unique and beautiful.

Our tour began at Adair’s front garden, an area shaded by two huge maple trees and that features a large selection of hostas, complimented by astilbes, pulmonarias, and day lilies. We find this garden refreshing on a hot summer day, and visitors always appreciate its quiet beauty.

Following the path through the shade garden took our visitors around to the back of the Inn. Guests often enjoy breakfast on the stone patio that is bordered by plantings of phlox, bee balm, Siberian iris and peony. Some of the peonies may even be original to the property, as they sometimes survive 100 years or more. More than one guest on Sunday remarked on the beautiful bronze coleus growing in one of the patio planters; we’ll definitely put this beauty on next year’s must-have list.

Stone steps lead down the hillside and our garden guests were free to wander about and check out the Rose Garden, the Pond Garden abloom with pink-flowering lily pads and encircled with yellow day lilies, and the Gate Garden.

We have to admit, the Gate Garden is a favorite of ours. This was originally designed as a white garden, but over the decades other plants have been added, and now the palette is muted, rather than white. We like to sit on the stone bench, listen to the water burble in the fountain, and refresh and recharge among the flowers. In bloom on Sunday were several

big plantings of lamb’s ear, covered in bees that seemed deliriously happy to be sipping from the flowers! White astilbe, balloon flower, daisies, peonies and iris flourish here, along with a nice planting of hostas. The big iron gates leading into the garden provide a touch of drama -- and glamour -- to the setting, and are very representative of Dorothy Adair Guider, the property’s original owner, who entertained extensively and counted among her friends the actress Helen Hayes.

Just steps outside the Gate Garden, red bee balm adds a splash of color to the landscape, and helps draw attention to the croquet game set up on the lawn nearby.

A long flower border at the foot of the lawn provides a stopping point for the eye before it travels outward across a bog filled with cattails. We don’t know if any of our guests ventured into the bog across the wooden walkway, but we like to wander in that direction when we’re in need of some wild beauty and hope to see a critter or two.

Although it’s back to our regular schedule today, we are still savoring the memories of last week's garden tour and meeting all of the lovely people who stopped by for a visit at the Adair Country Inn & Restaurant’s gardens.

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