On a delightfully cool early morning in mid-July, my poodle Gloria and I walked up to the cottage from down in the Underhill section of Topsmead. The still unmowed hay meadows sheltered the not-yet-fledged baby bobolinks in their nests, but a path up to the house had been mowed for us walker types. Fuzzy, rounded blossoms of clover added splashes of purple amongst the taller golden fronds of the hay grasses, all gently swaying in the morning breeze. And that was just the beginning of the Topsmead July color palette....
As we walked up the path, the cottage before us grew larger and larger, and we finally arrived at the veranda to join the Litchfield Hills Walkers ladies for a small birthday celebration. As I sat in one of the oversized grey Adirondack chairs with my early morning coffee and scone, I couldn’t help but think of Miss Edith and her two companions, Lucy and Mary Burrell. Late rising Miss Edith would surely have been asleep, but Mary and Lucy could well have been taking their morning coffee on the veranda.
After the clean up and the ladies’ departure, Gloria and I explored the gardens. The sun was gaining altitude and beginning to cast its light on the veranda side of the house thus warming up the fragrance and brightening the colors of the flowers. The still shady path from the veranda down to the walled garden was lined with graceful lavender hosta and ground-hugging pink and white impatience.
In the sunny, lush green of the walled garden, so many blossoms competed for attention: blue salvia of the ornamental sage family, tall pink and white phlox out-talled by stalks of white larkspur, and lavender and red bee balm (aka monarda aka bergamot) hard at work attracting bees and butterflies. Not to overlook the pots of red geraniums and pink mini-petunias placed atop the stone walls and the quieter pots hanging from the veranda’s wooden beams.
And talk about lilies... the yellow, orange, and cream of lilies in the south garden created a multi-hued tapestry interwoven with blue salvia and the magenta petals of Echinacea blossoms. I exclaimed on the beauty of the gardens to Jameson, a DEEP employee in a dark green DEEP shirt who was weeding in the lily garden, and he said, “Oh yes. This is peak color for the gardens.”
Oh yes! Peak color indeed! Some may think that fall with its changing leaves is peak color, but I beg to differ. Take a stroll through the Topsmead gardens and see if you don’t agree.