Sharing the Floral Explosion of an Extraordinary Spring

Sharing the Floral Explosion of an Extraordinary Spring


I know I have shared many images of this year’s spring garden, but I’m going to show you some more, simply because this spring has been one of the most dazzling we have had in northwestern Connecticut. I sent you tulips, but following them are the glorious peonies, alium, perennials, including poppies and nepeta.

In addition to the plethora of these flowers, I have also noticed that for some reason the light and shadow in the garden is spectacular, especially in the evening.  I don’t know if there’s a connection but they both have been beyond beautiful.

In the pictures above, you see the alium, nepita, and the beautiful rhododendron. After years of rather disappointing blooms from the latter, I was ready to pull them up and give up on that plant. And voila, this year they have been extraordinary.

The German Bearded Iris and peonies in the perennial border bloomed at the same time.


As most of you know, the peony is one of my all time favorite flowers. With just a few, you have easy an instant bouquet. The table above was for a spring lunch – I’ve always loved mixing pink flowers with the blue and white dishes.

Some call me the queen of blue and white because of my book on that subject, but the combination is eternal and goes with every other color – just think of nature’s blue and white backdrop, the sky. The blue and white table linens are from a small collection of embroidered linens I am planning for the future – but that’s a whole other story!

Another marvelous flower are the oriental poppies (above). I love them in salmon, brilliant red-orange, and white. Their petals remind me of a beautiful piece of thin taffeta silk, and they are so thin,  the sun shines through them, creating another type of magic, as seen below.

Thanks to our season of” English type”  weather with all of the rain, the greens of the garden have been extraordinary . The green velvet like lawn, the shade garden – the richest it’s ever been, and as I mentioned earlier, the light has been remarkable (below).

The hostas, ferns, and ligularia (below).

A last view of the perennial garden and the peony border together. It was so much fun to watch it unfold as more and more flowers began to bloom. this has been a spring to remember.

The season moves rapidly and we are now in summer, and the roses will be my next love. Hope you enjoy this little video I have shared on Instagram.


55 thoughts on “Sharing the Floral Explosion of an Extraordinary Spring

  1. I envy you. Living in Arizona we have rock and cactus. I dream of moving back east and having a real garden.

  2. So pretty!!! I enjoy seeing beauty so much and my two absolute favorite go to sites are yours and Mimi Thorisson’s in St. Yzans, Medoc. You share so much inspiration and are very appreciated for doing so.

    • Thank you Sherrie, and so very satisfying to share this beauty with you, cr

  3. Hi Carolyn, your table setting is simple but at the same time glorious. Oh, the magic of good taste!
    Best, Maria

  4. Extraordinary INDEED! My idea of HEAVEN!!! You continue to be such an inspiration to all. Your extraordinary talents are a gift to those of us who continue to strive for such beauty in our own gardens. Some years being better than others, all depending on climate conditions for the year. That’s the challenge of gardening. Oh, should I mention the challenge of deer the last couple of years?
    Pls. continue to post pictures of your beautiful home and gardens. You are such an inspiration to me and others.
    Most sincerely, Donna Chappel (Donna Chappel Interior)

    • Thank you Donna….extremely happy to be considered an inspiration. As for the deer, I am only too familiar with that challenge! cr

  5. Dear Carolyne,

    So lovely to hear from you.
    I love the view from your verandah of the lady statue with the large trees in the background.
    Aren’t we lucky to love flowers and nature, so many people are not bothered. I spend more time in my garden than in my house. I can live with a bit of dust on the blue and white.

    Marie 🌷🌸🌻🌺🌷

    • Dear Marie –I could not agree with you more!!! Hope all is well with you and your garden! a big hug carolyne

  6. As I churn the beauty of this post and the “lavender” birthday party post in my mind I want to scale down and recreate each picture for my little granddaughter Lillie Graham. Thank you for creating excitement and a sense of wanting to “pass it on” to our wee ones. Your gifts are truly appreciated. Thank you for sharing. Betsy

    • Thank you Betsy, I can’t think of a bigger compliment than to be ‘passed on’ to dear Lillie, cr

  7. It really has been the most marvelous spring, hasn’t it? After the last few disappointing years, my garden is doing things it never did before. My lilacs were so abundant and fragrant that I had merely to open my door to experience them. I’ve rather enjoyed the English weather, even though it has rained quite a lot. It makes the fair days so much more precious. Your garden looks spectacular. Those poppies are dreamy, and that close-up photo reminds me of one of your paintings. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    • Thank you so much Cynthia… photos are what started the painting inspiration, so I’m grateful for your comparison. And you put it so perfectly “my garden is doing things it never did before” – exactly what has been going on at Weatherstone! cr

  8. Your garden is an inspiration to me! I am planting a new yard in Cashiers, NC and the climate here is similar to yours in Connecticut. Please tell me…..are the tall spiked flowers lavender? Enjoy your posts so very much and am so impressed with your paintings! You are impossibly talented.

    • Thank Debi. If you are talking about the flowers in this post, they are allium. Good luck with the new yard – how exciting! cr

  9. Lovely! I too notice the quality and contrast of light and shadow, especially in the garden and with the “sun dapples” regarding the effect of light through tree leaves. The clarity had to do with the humidity, low humidity and the light is more crisp! Thank you for sharing your gardens. Blessings!

    • Well, thank you very much for explaining that Katy, the light has certainly been different this spring! cr

  10. Eternal is groovy. Your posts make me so happy. Carry on Sugar! – Virginia Billeaud Anderson

  11. Absolutely gorgeous Carolyne! Gardening in Houston is challenging but worth it to see beautiful color in the hot Texas sun!
    Happy summer to you.

    • Thank you Susan, it’s often a challenge up here too, but as you know, very satisfying and worth the effort! cr

  12. In my world it’s all about the light and shadows. Your garden is exquisite with the flowers in full bloom, the beautifully groomed walkways, and the reflection on the pond of the trees. Are you able to sleep with all this beauty surrounding you? Being a creative soul shows in everything you do. It is a joy to follow your work.. Thank you.

    • Thank you Alice. Yes, I do manage to sleep, but often wake excited to get out and see what the day brings to the ever changing spring garden! Glad you enjoy the blog, cr

  13. You are right. It has been an extraordinarily beautiful spring. I am sure with all exceptional
    Photos you will be publishing another book. Loved the video, missed you.

    Michigan has had the same explosive spring. Makes you tingle with excitement!

    June Emmert

    • Thank you June. I can’t promise another book just yet, but certainly have more than enough material! Glad to hear you too are witnessing a marvelous spring in Michigan, cr

  14. Very Dear Carolyne, Your peony border is stunning! I close my eyes and dream of the fragrance. Sadly peonies cannot survive where I reside, in the Florida heat. Thanks for sharing your blog. Hope you are enjoying Charleston and all the abundance the south offers.

    • Thank you Jenny, and I do hope you’re able to at least treat yourself with some store bought peonies. This images are all from CT where the spring has been extraordinary, but I believe Charleston is also in bloom, cr

  15. Magnificent that you are willing to share your garden and your home details with everyone to enjoy. Museum quality with the privilege of seeing closer through your thoughtful photos. Thank you!
    Please continue sharing your treasures!

    • Thank you Christine – I’m not sure about museum quality, but I am very happy to share these with you, and am grateful for the wonderful feedback you send me, cr

  16. Could not be more beautiful…..the artists eye!
    Thank you as always, lynn

  17. I can always count on your posts and gorgeous photos to be uplifting. Thank you, thank you!

  18. Thank you for sharing the beauty that surrounds you. I love the way you use it to create gorgeous table settings.

  19. I wish i could have sent you pictures of my borders, your books have so inspired me that I have to admit to borrowing from your incredible design and landscaping ideas. My borders look like a page out of one of your books. Thanks for all your inspiration. The mild Missouri climate makes gardening such a pleasure.

    • Ah Peter you make me laugh when you talk about the ” mild MO.climate” Things must have changed a lot from when I lived there
      You can send me photos through my web site– happy gardening cr

      • Compared to my Texas home the heat there is horrible. The 2 years I have lived here in MO the hottest day was 96, I wake early every morning and it is 70 degress here so gardening in the morning is a breeze….

  20. Dear Carolyne,

    When your new posts arrive I can hardly open them fast enough! You have inspired me to start my first perennial garden!
    I think I have been waiting all my life to do this but never lived anywhere long enough until the last few years to really put a dream into action. Your beautiful books over the years have been such a source of inspiration, pleasure and education.
    I can’t thank you enough for putting all of the time into your work and so generously sharing it with us all. It is always exceptional, lovely and appreciated!!!
    Can’t wait for the linens!

    all the best, Marilyn

    • Hi Marilyn,
      Thank you for your comment. Comments like yours truly keeps me doing these posts. I am happy for you that you can now be in a place that represents your slice of heaven –I think that is why one gardens. Good success with it may it bring you pleasure.

  21. Dear Carolyne,

    AHh the memories. I can’t believe how large the willows have grown on the pond island. I’ll always remember gazing out at that beautiful view from your studio.

    THe gardens look extraordinary!!!!

    I hope you are well and happy. Your gardens certainly are.

    Bob Law

    • Dear Bob,
      It is so lovely to hear from you! I also have memories of that time. You should see the Siebold
      viburnum that your father planted with me in the ’80s it is enormous! I hope all in the family are doing well. Come by sometime and we will have a glass of wine to fond memories
      . fondly carolyne

  22. Just breath taking! You are a Master Gardener! I loe all your photos

  23. Dear Carolyne,
    This has been a very frustrating and rewarding spring for me. This past fall I had the bright idea ( and I’m being sarcastic when I say bright) of re doing my perennial garden. Years ago when my husband and I visited Weatherstone for Trade Secrets and I saw your gardens and home I was inspired and forever changed. My darling husband has always helped me for years to create miniture versions of Weatherstone at my home (which I call Pinerowe) Anyway, so everything had become overgrown and I had sketches and new designs and I thought I could perfect past mistakes and design things better. When we first did the quadrants in our garden since I was a novice I planted some things that were too tall to close to the front and shorter plants behind. I figured I would do it so much better this time around, so I had everything taken out in the fall. I tilled the soil and I started completely from scratch. It has taken me weeks and weeks, researching, planting, moving plants and I finally am done but I regret having taken such a difficult road. Frankly I could have moved plants around instead of starting from scratch.
    I have said a few times that my garden will be the death of me. It is one of the hardest things to create and most rewarding but it can be the most frustrating project as well.
    I’ve often dreamt of walklng through my garden with you and you informing me about what I should add or take out in my garden. These photos are great. All your posts serve as a life garden class. I love seeing these amazing photos and comments, it helps me so much. Thank you my dear.

    • It is my pleasure, and thank you for your constant, kind feedback. I completely understand the ‘garden will be the death of me’, and believe me, I have made many mistakes, and faced frustrations and disappointments along the way, but as I’m sure you’ll agree, it is all worth it in the end,.
      For my part I am finding the same frustration in learning watercoloring and holding on to the light and doing variegated flowers I keep starting over so we all seem to have frustrations. a hug for trying so hard c

  24. That so made me smile (and my day!!) We’re in the “dog days of summer” here in VA, however, that evening light casting on our green lawn and water reflections(1 1’2 in of rain!!) is just mesmerizing. Who needs Ireland…at least for now…franki

    • Exactly Franki, seems we all have a piece of Ireland in our backyards this spring! cr

  25. Absolutely gorgeous! I have your books in my library and they have been my go to for ideas! Enjoy your emails! Thank you so much!

  26. Dear Carolyn: Thank you so very much for sharing the beautiful photos of your incredible garden. I agree it’s been a very rainy spring, unfortunately, I lost my beautiful light pink pavots due to an early frost. Also, did you notice, not a great year for the clematis – Also, for the first time, had two beautiful peony plants with a dreadful pest. Oh, well, will have to wait until next year. Beautiful! and thank you!

    • Thank you Lili. There’s nothing more disappointing than an early frost….and sorry to hear about your peonies, but as you say, there’s always next year – if nothing else, gardening makes us learn to be more patient! cr

  27. Hi Carolyne
    DE-vine!! Heaven! I would love to know what fertiliser you use on your flower gardens? I know, a very mundane question considering all the lovely accolades above.
    Sandy from Down Under.

    • Hi Sandy, not mundane at all! For the roses I feed them twice a year with a granular mixture of Milorganite and Epsom rose fertilizer, cr

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