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Lifestyles -

July 6, 2013

How their gardens grow

Local residents to host Garden Conservancy Open Day


But, “Deer are always a threat,” said Blakeslee, who along with her husband, have a dog and cat to help keep the gardens protected. 

The couple’s love of gardening was noticed by a garden scout from the Garden Conservancy, and Berry Brook Farm was asked to participate in the Open Day Tour.

Totem Farm is at 581 Rathburn Hill Road in East Meredith. Don Statham began gardening in 2002 after renovating the old farm house. The garden covers 4.25 acres of sloping land, including fields of wild flowers, a moon garden, a young lilac walk, a very old apple orchard, a pond walk and a patterned meadow walk. Walks are defined by stones, hedges, and rock walls. Chickens stroll under living-willow tunnels. 

Statham grew up with an extended family who all love to garden, he said. With memories of his great-grandmother preferring scented plants and another great-grandmother growing gourds to dry and use as ladles to water her plants from a rain barrel, Statham brings a unique perspective to gardening in Delaware County. 

Statham’s favorite project is the project at hand, he said. 

“These days I am growing willows for making living and dried willow structures. Perhaps the nicest thing about any project is the way that what you plan on paper is forced to adapt in its interaction with the reality of nature. When the idea meets the dirt, that’s when things get really exciting,” said Statham, who also blogs about his work.

“Most people go for annuals when gardening; however, annual plants have to be replaced every year,” said Statham, who said he prefers buying locally. “I buy plants rated for zone 4/5 and that have been tested in our area.” 

Taking the time to plant ornamental shrubs trees and perennials plus buying plants that survive the local climate add to the love of gardening.

“Totem Farm was asked by the Garden Conservancy to participate in the Open Day,” Statham noted. “The money raised by opening our gardens on July 6 funds the restoration of exceptional old gardens. Therefore, the project at hand is to fit the conservancy mission.”

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