Longing for the Garden at Bee Cottage

NEW YORK–Spring is sailing along. Want to go? Click here if you want to go model boat sailing in Central Park.

Sailboats in Central Park
Sailboats in Central Park's Conservatory Water are a happy harbinger of spring.

Central Park today is bursting with blossoms and bright with the fresh green of new foliage. The cool April air and its promise of showers bring to heart the joy of flowers and the hope of the garden. I’ll return to Bee Cottage in a few weeks, and I’m full of beans about it… Meanwhile I’m pre-occupied with a writing project this week and thought I’d delve into the archives. Here is the very first entry in this blog, not a year old, titled Bee Cottage: Welcome to My Garden; the posting of which, given my then-technological prowess, I regard as something of a miracle. Click on the title/link above, or continue below.

EAST HAMPTON, July 6, 2011–Summer is finally here, and Bee Garden is as happy about it as I am. Here is a peek, with more to come in the days ahead. I am so grateful to the lovely and talented garden designer Jane Lappin and her crew at Wainscott Gardens who keep it looking so beautiful. Thank you thank you!

Bee Garden Gate
A deep purple clematis twines its way over the gate to Bee Garden. Jane Lappin's associate Adrienne Woodduck worked with me to design the bee. I totally drove her crazy.

I love the little bee carved in to the gate. It took forever to get the design just right, simple as it is, but now I use it on calling cards, stationery, towels, and linens. Not to get carried away.

Roses on Porch
The New Dawn roses are climb their soft pink way up the columns round the porch.

This is the roses’ second summer, and we’re training them up the columns. By next year they should reach the beams, and oh boy that will be beautiful. Gardening is not for the impatient. That is the joy and the madness of it. (Woops I see some bad-hair-day privet there in the back. Gardening isn’t for the overly uptight, either; even though I sort of am… sometimes… about my garden.)

Roses and Dahlias
Roses and Dahlias

Clearly I need to get out there and dead-head.

These huge pink dahlias are big as my head.

Have you ever seen anything like these dahlias? They look like they fell off a Puerto Rican Day Parade float. And bless their hearts they bloom and bloom and bloom until frost. Many flowers make me smile, but these make me laugh.


  1. I’ve become more and more convinced that it is worth regarding all that is alive and growing around us in the frame of “living beings” or “fellow creatures.” It seems that plants, and sometimes animals can be regarded as backdrop or setting and hardly far ahead of “inanimate.” These living beings do call to us and become our friends – for a season or, in the case of perennials, for many seasons. We are, then, accompanied in the garden by these other creatures who may have more to say to us than we might expect. When I lived back east I remember anticipating most excitedly the return of my hostas – of which I had a great variety… they began with what looked like reaching fingers back up out of the earth.

  2. Theo and I were in NY over Easter. Warm days, people outside in the park, watched the sail boats, the tulips magnificent….

  3. That dahlia looks like a ballerina’s tutu!.
    Inspiration is all around us. Wild flowers just starting (late) in the Santa Ynez valley. With more rain today they could be spectacular.

  4. Love that gate! Bees are favorite creatures of mine-always working away, making the world a more beautiful and bountiful place. That clematis is beyond gorgeous! Just love spring in the northeast.

  5. We could all use a little more ” Bee Garden” in our lives!! I’m so excited about this blog of yours- not that book yet…but close. Always makes me smile.

    1. Leslie, thank you and how nice to hear from you! I was just thinking of you the other day as I was meeting with a book agent and I showed her your letter, no kidding!!! It makes me smile. Keep in touch, Frances

  6. Love the purple clematis trailing over the gate to Bee garden. My white clematis is in bloom right now and is beautiful.

    1. Thank you Jackie! Want to share a picture of your white clematis? And by the way, do you say CLEMatis or cleMAHtis? I always said CLEMatis because I think that’s how most people say it in the south. But up here they seem to say cleMAHtis which to me sounds a little like a body part or something you don’t want the doctor to tell you you have.

  7. I can never get enough of Bee Cottage. Your post reminded me to plant dahlias again — thank you. Last summer I had some the size of dinner plates.

  8. Love all things Bee Cottage, Frances, and have so enjoyed your House Beautiful columns on it. Your flowers and garden are just lovely, and I long for some of that east coast beauty down here in dry South Texas, where we are practically in summer already!

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