Sometimes it’s nice to treat yourself to a road trip and see what’s blooming outside the valley. How lucky to have the Berkshires in our backyard.
Had a beautiful day in the Berkshires last Thursday, with my Master Gardening pals. The weather could not have been more accommodating. We all met at the enchanting Berkshire Botanic Garden. It sits right on the edge of the road, but a world away. There are 26 acres of display gardens, yet it feels like home.
We started our tour unofficially, in the vegetable garden. Truth be told, that’s my favorite spot. Who would have thought we’d be captivated by the size and arrangement of the raised beds? They were small and square, maybe 4 ft. Each had and individual crop. They just looked so orderly and easy to maintain, although I’m sure a lot of work went into them.
Although it is mid-summer, there was a touch of fall color in the gardens. There were only a couple of gardeners busy at work while we were there. Our very patient guide is a volunteer in the exuberant herb garden, where they grow the herbs they use to create products for their well-stocked gift shop. It was designed by Page Dickey as part of their Guest Gardener program, in 2009.
The garden is just over the Massachusetts boarder, about 20 minutes from the Taconic Parkway. It’s a gorgeous, peaceful drive and a wonderful way to spend a morning. After we picnicked, my carpool moved on down the road to Chesterwood. Chesterwood was the country home of sculptor Daniel Chester French., who’s best known work is the Lincoln Memorial. It was fascinating to see his workshop, with the rainroad ties he used to roll his work out into natural light still in tact and fully visible from the porch.
I think French would be thrilled to see how the Historic Trust is using his home to showcase all kinds of artists. There’s a contemporary music festival on Friday nights throughout the summer. We got to see an installation of metal sculptures by artist Albert Paley. They were positioned about the grounds, like Storm King. My favorite was “Progression”, situated on the front lawn and looking like a series of scale exercises on a piano. So much wonder a few miles from home.