On a trip to Pennsylvania to visit in-laws, I thoroughly enjoyed looking at all the colorful summer gardens and flowers...some like ours...some not.
Now here's a hydrangea! There were many of these in bloom all over. Most were in the blue tone...rarely did I see a pink...and some were even a purplish-blue. Red geraniums were planted in the birdbath, while a tiny clematis flower clung to the fence.
This clematis vine is completely covered in flowers. Isn't it gorgeous? I wish we could grow clematis, especially since they come in many colors and flower shapes. It's probably a good thing that we can't. :-)
A waiting area outside a restaurant just seems to beckon someone to come over and sit for a spell. I wouldn't mind waiting for a table on this bench.
Here's a close-up of the container planting. All of the plants look familiar and wonderful together.
Across from a bakery and farmstand was their garden of blueberries and other vegetables available for purchase.
Inside were lots of gourmet goods, fresh veggies, plants, canned items and baked goods.
Now here's a familiar vine...trumpet creeper. By the looks of the size of this vine it's either a fast grower or it's cold-hardy.
Did I mention there were baked goods?
A visit to Pearl S. Buck's house and gardens was a real treat.
I captured this little fellow (see him to the left) taking a sip of nectar from the verbena. He looks like some sort of moth. At first, I thought it was a hummingbird, but a closer look confirmed it wasn't.
Pennsylvania gardeners plant lots of hostas, annuals, daylilies, daisies, coneflowers and even caladiums are planted in this partly sunny bed.
Here is another large perennial bed full of plants that I mostly do not recognize. Dayliles and coneflowers are the only ones I'm sure of.
I'm thoroughly jealous of the Japanese maple that hangs over this water feature. Oh, how I wish we could grow them in Florida. They would definitely be another obsession for me!
We took a drive into the beautiful Amish countryside which is a mix of the past and the present. This Amish horse and buggy gave us a chance to slow down and enjoy the journey.
There's a lot to be said about the simple and sustainable lifestyle they live.
Take a long, deep breath and you'll know exactly what the Amish farmer uses to fertilize his crops. You'll know you're definitely in the country and not the city anymore. Rolling hills of lush green fields planted with corn and wheat, white farms and silos dot the countryside. And, the food is delicious, too...lunch included homegrown pork, homemade sauerkraut, chow-chow, mashed potatoes, whipped butter, bread and shoefly pie for dessert. Yum!
And, of course, you know I couldn't come home empty handed. My sister-in-law was gracious enough to share some of her plants with me. While I'm not sure if this plant...one of the stepables...will grow down here in the heat and humidity, it was worth a shot. This is one of those plants that you place between stones on a footpath. It quickly fills in and they're okay if you step on them...hence the name - stepables.
But the plant I'm most excited about is this Hens & Chicks. They are succulents that grow in her yard...so they're obviously cold-hardy. I've seen them in magazines but never in nurseries. The mother hen puts out lots of little chicks. There's one cute little chick in the lower left, and another is just slightly peeking out in the lower right. I wrapped up several pieces in newspapers...tucked them inside a plastic strawberry container with holes and a cardboard pie box...and stuck them in the center of my check-on baggage. I was delighted when I opened the suitcase and saw that they made it home safely.
It just so happens that the book I took along with me...Talking Dirt by Annie Spiegelman...was very appropriate for this trip. After inhaling the earthy smell of soil fertilized with animal manure and reading the Dirt Diva's book, I was anxious to return home and put some of her tips for enriching my sandy soil to use. Oh, what I wouldn't give to have that nutrient-rich brown soil in my garden. Guess I'll have to settle for cleaning out my compost bin and a load of mushroom compost from a local farm.