The Peony and Wheelbarrow Borders
Are just past the Rose Walk, between the south terrace of the house and the barn within a space shaped by old stone walls. When the Robinsons arrived, this area was a thicket of lilacs that had grown taller than the barn, shaded by an ancient elm. The fields beyond had reverted to scrubby woods. During this early period of “the Clearances,” the elm died and Charlie had the lilacs ripped out. Barbara faced her first challenge – an open muddy mess! She set out to “tidy up,” while Charlie began to clear the fields. Eventually, the sloping space was “leveled” and Charlie built a retaining stone wall built with their two young sons.
A single peony surfaced, Festive Maxima, now graced by the company of many others Barbara added to create the Peony Border. Charlie built two tall towers – or “Tors” – out of steamed bent wood, each topped by a sprinkler head. The “Tors” add height to this side of the garden. In early Spring, Tulips bloom in a sea of myosotis before the peonies. Later blooming clematis and other vines adorn the Tors.
The Wheelbarrow Border is a higher level than the Peony Border opposite, held up by Charlie’s stone wall, He built it wide enough to allow Barbara to move her wheelbarrow along its top and hence its name. Barbara says the wall is so wide, it can be seen from the moon, like the Great Wall of China! This border is at its best, after the tulips, in late summer when phlox, veronicastrum, eupatorium, and later bloomers come into their own.
In front of the barn facing the southern terrace of the house, two showy Cornus Kousas provide white drama for a long period in June followed by the red of the large fruits in the Fall.