The Great Gatsby gardener

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While we were in America we went to visit friends (who we hadn’t seen for years) in a beautiful coastal town just north of Boston called Marblehead. It was wonderful to spend time with them and we had a memorable stay. My lovely friend, who knows I am keen on all things horticultural, kindly arranged for a landscape gardener friend of theirs, Larry, to give us a tour of a few of ‘his’ gardens before dinner one evening. Now, these gardens were attached to houses that one dreams of, the types of houses that I imagined when I read The Great Gatsby – beautiful New England mansions with sweeping lawns overlooking the ocean. Larry was absolutely certain that it was fine for us to look around the gardens as the owners were probably out and, anyway, ‘they wouldn’t mind’. My friend reminded him of the time he’d reassured her it would be absolutely fine to come and have a picnic in a garden he was working on only to have a slightly awkward encounter with owners who arrived home unexpectedly!

Anyway, we parked outside one house but the owners were in and having a party, so we swiftly drove on to another. I had my camera with me and was hoping no one in the vicinity would notice me taking photos and think I was casing the joint… At the next residence, all was quiet so we cautiously followed Larry as he told us of his ideas, showed us his latest planting schemes, talked about views and sight-lines and his client’s wishes. He said ‘we’ a lot, so I think he (understandably) has quite an emotional investment in the gardens he works on. It was a real treat to have this private little tour and the opportunity to have a gawp at places where you could imagine Gatsby-like parties taking place. As we were leaving the final garden, the owners’ car swept into the drive. We said our hasty goodbyes, thanked him profusely and left Larry to do the talking.


In other news… My eldest’s exam results last week were good enough for him to go through to the sixth form – hurrah 🙂 – so we went shopping today for cool sixth-form clothes. Five hours of shopping… I’ve told my other two that if they need any new kit, we can order it online. Have a lovely rest of the week. x

26 thoughts on “The Great Gatsby gardener

  1. Hey Sam,
    I dream of houses like that! And those hollyhock spires are amazing.
    I did all of my back to school shopping online this year. Including shoes. Well done to your boy. May he be the coolest sixth former there ever was 🙂
    Leanne xx

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a lovely chance to have a look at these gardens that you wouldn’ t normally get to see. A bit embarassing if the owners turn up though. I love the story about the picnic. I would be somewhat surprised to come home and find picnics in my garden. Actually, it did happen to me once after an NGS open day which finished at 5 oclock. I walked round the garden at 7 and found some people with their rug out enjoying a picnic.

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    1. Oh my! How cheeky. I hope they were suitably embarrassed. A lot of the gardens Larry looks after belong to houses that are second homes and the owners are often away. Nevertheless I was glad we didn’t bump into any.

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  3. I do rather fancy one of those houses, sun porches and all. The hollyhocks are just gorgeous. Shopping with boys is no fun, particularly clothes (‘why would I want to try these on?’ etc etc). Shopping with a purpose is better and your reason for shopping is great, congratulations to your teenager. x

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  4. That sounds like a slightly awkward tour, but very entertaining and your sneaky pics are lovely. What a show of hollyhocks. Well done to your son. We’ve got to the waiting on accommodation stage of my son’s uni application. We have to go buying pots and pans next. I bet it ends up just me!

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  5. That was so lovely of your friend to arrange this private tour of some gardens and for you to take pictures to share with us. The gardens look so lovely and match the scale of the houses. Congratulations to your son. That sounds a marathon shopping trip! Sarah x

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  6. My mother was a birder and a realtor, without the slightest sense of privacy. When I was young, to my mortification, she would tromp over stranger’s yards and even onto back decks in search of a bird sighting. In her old age, she likes to pick flowers. Anywhere and everywhere, with no regard to whether she is intruding. I have always felt like an apologist following her around. So, I had a good shudder at the thought of Larry’s tour!
    Congrats to your son. I’m sure you all were relieved.
    I’m inspired by the hollyhocks. We’re putting in a fence for the new pup and I’m envisioning hollyhocks planted alongside.

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    1. I was slightly taken aback by Larry’s lack of regard for his clients’ privacy. How funny about your mum (although I’m sure it’s not funny for you). Hollyhocks – yes, that would look wonderful.

      Liked by 2 people

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