Sunday, May 8, 2011
Yaddo's Lovely Lawn
Yaddo, the famous artists' retreat at the edge of Saratoga Springs, is famous also for its beautiful formal gardens filled with roses and fountains and classical statuary. But I love to visit Yaddo for its beautiful weeds. There's a vast expanse of lawn below the landmark Victorian mansion, and today it was spangled with many kinds of pretty wildflowers. There were violets of several kinds -- Common Blue, Sweet White, and Dog Violet -- and just hundreds of these tiny Thyme-leaved Speedwells, almost as small as snowflakes and equally as pretty.
Some folks might not consider Pussytoes a beautiful wildflower, but it sure is fuzzy and cute when you view it up close.
Lawn fanatics consider Ground Ivy the bane and torment of their lives, but I wonder why anyone would want grass instead of these little blue orchid-like blooms and their ruffly, mint-scented leaves that fill the air with fragrance when they are mowed.
I'm glad the groundskeepers at Yaddo don't spread the kind of poisons that would kill these beautiful "weeds." I'll bet this Chipping Sparrow is glad the ground is not poisoned, too, since that's where this half-pint sparrow with a chestnut cap likes to spend most of its time, scratching among the gravel.
Of course, not all of Yaddo's wildflowers are weeds. They do have a shaded woodland garden planted with many varieties of native flowers. Rue Anemone was in bloom today, and while most of the flowers were the expected pristine white, one of the blooms was the palest, prettiest lilac.
Another violet was flowering today. This is Labrador Violet, distinguished by its dark-green leaves that look like their bases were dipped in purple dye.