Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Garden Visit

Brenda feeding the goldfish
Back in August, I had the opportunity to visit my good friend Brenda Hershberger in Mason, Michigan. I had been planning a trip to the Lansing area in order to stop in at Wild Type Nursery, also in Mason, for one of the nursery's last public sale days of the season, hoping to fill some gaps in my garden and maybe discover some heretofore unknown botanical treasures.

Brenda and Allie, who has now
been joined by Dom P
Brenda is also very much a native plant enthusiast and, considering she's so close to the nursery, it was easy to put a trip together to visit her beautiful garden and home and stop in at the nursery. Brenda frequently posts images of her garden (and cats) on Facebook so I was really looking forward to visiting in person. Although the drive was rather frustrating, with
I-96 West down to one lane on the same weekend that students were making their annual migration to East Lansing for the start of the school year, the anticipation of visiting a good friend's garden and selecting plants at one of my favorite nurseries kept me going.

Feeder goldfish are less expensive and seem
less attractive to marauding Great Blue Herons
I made it into Mason late in the morning, just in time for lunch. After a brief tour through the front yard, especially a prized Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) slated for major pruning by the local power company, Brenda invited me in and we had a delicious meal of gazpacho, brie and artisanal bread, with a fresh fruit salad for dessert. Her little gray kitty, Allie, was very friendly - and also very interested in helping us with lunch. Brenda has been very supportive of my pottery and has collected quit a few of my pieces, which she has integrated seamlessly into her beautiful home. It was a wonderful opportunity to see where some of my favorite pieces had come to roost.

In touring the gardens, the highlight is clearly Brenda's pond, stocked with feeder goldfish (Great Blue Herons were nabbing the more expensive Koi, so she opted for sustainable quantity), beautiful waterlilies and native and exotic plants by pond's edge. The pond - with a natural-looking stone waterfall and integrated plantings - has the lived-in look of the best designed larger garden features. Its "naturalness" is attested to by the abundance of native frogs, who bask on strategically-placed rocks and take cover in the lush plantings.

After our tour, we headed to the nursery separately (it was on the way home for me) and shopped the remaining native plants. I was able to purchase another Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica) for the front yard and, especially, exciting, Orange-fruited Horse Gentian (Triosteum aurantiacum) and Pointed-leaf Ticktrefoil (Desmodium glutinosum), both of which went into a planting of Penn Sedge (Carex pensylvanica) in my tree lawn.

The drive home was less frustrating, as I took a detour to avoid the construction, which took me by a corn stand with the last of the season's harvest, which I enjoyed for dinner that night! What a great day!

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