Sunday, June 21, 2015

Nine home gardeners prepare to host visitors - By Walter Lunt

Dianne Larrivee’s home in Raymond is surrounded by greenery, colorful perennials, shrubs and a water garden continuously recharged by two waterfalls. Her oasis is one stop on this year’s Raymond Garden Tour. 
“My all-time favorites are peonies and lady slippers,” she said. Larrivee cultivates several varieties of peony, including white, pink, yellow and red; and another, her most revered, a 100-year-old French variety from her grandmother’s garden. “It’s mostly sentimental,” she explained, “My grandmother grew these. It has a high degree of smell. When I put together a bouquet, I slip one of these in to give it a perfumed scent.”

Nearby are eight varieties of rhododendron, bridal wreath spirea, and a yak plant which transforms from pink to white over two weeks in spring. Run a finger along the underside of its pointed leaf and it feels like a soft felt blanket.

Asked about the planning and design of her numerous gardens, Larrivee maintains it is somewhat of an art form, a talent learned from her mother, trial and error and magazines. A garden scheme is the product of arrangement and organization. For example, she advises prospective gardeners not to ignore the height and layering of plants. First, consider that green leaves are prominent all season long, while the flowers bloom for only short periods; so vary the types, sizes and textures of the leafs. Secondly, the taller plants need to be placed in the back, even if their heights vary when first planted. 

Larrivee also combined day lilies and daffodils that have back-to-back blooming times in order to extend the spring color.
Larrivee believes her main attraction will be the water garden that she designed, planted and even dug herself. The pond, or “water feature” in garden lingo, contains pond lilies, lotus and reeds. Lining the water are Cyprus, a multi-colored Japanese maple, clematis, yellow and pink lady slippers, jack-in-the-pulpit and purple trillium. Spanning the pond between the heavy flow waterfalls is a humped wooden bridge.

The Raymond tour will be held on Saturday, June 27 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Patrons will start at Raymond Village Library and receive a “ticket brochure” which will provide directions and describe the nine gardens. Each garden will have volunteer guides. The tour is self-guided and the gardens can be visited in any order. One stop, at King’s Grant, will offer refreshments and a visual tour of Raymond’s history. The tour winds up at the Hawthorne House at 3:30 p.m. with a strawberry festival and program featuring two speakers from the McLaughlin Garden.

Tour committee member Elissa Gifford said, “Each garden is a visual representation of the owner’s personal interpretation, not only of what gardening means to them, but of their own work in developing its meaning.”

Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 on tour day, and can be purchased at the library. All proceeds will benefit Raymond Village Library, a 501©3 (non-profit).

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