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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Bamboo and privet on tour

Every year in early June the Van Vleck House Foundation sponsors a garden tour of private homes. It usually runs the gamut from the professionally designed zillionaire spread to much more modest and often much more charming do-it-yourself endeavors.
One of the grandest houses was situated on the upper side of a substantial hill, so the garden had to be conceived on multiple levels.
It was at the very top (third) level that I was startled to see that the "shrub border" consisted entirely of the same wildly invasive bamboo that is trying to take over my own garden. The stuff grows about a foot a day (no exaggeration!) and spreads by underground runners. What is going on here? Did they just give up? Surely they didn't actually plant this awful stuff!

The bamboo screen. It doesn't look half bad, does it?

This is the second level. You can just barely see the bamboo at the top.

Another garden - quite a charming one - has evolved over forty or so years under the same owner-designer, and incorporates a large number of container-grown plants - including many shrubs and small trees. There was one plant that I couldn't immediately identify, and I asked the owner about it. She announced that it was a specialty lilac of some kind, which didn't seem quite right to me. Suddenly another tour-goer, overhearing the conversation, chimed in.

It's common privet, he said. Of course! And then the familiar fragrance (hated by some) kicked in. We don't often see privet in full bloom like this, since it's usually tightly clipped. It was really quite lovely, and I'm tempted to borrow the idea. Isn't that why we go on these tours?


Blogger Ki said...

I didn't realize privet could be so beautiful. I don't ever recall seeing it bloom. I may borrow the idea too! Thanks for posting the photo.

7:49 AM  

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