Pont de fleurs

Last year, in early June 2016, I went with some friends to visit Paradise Lot, the permaculture home of Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates and their wives, on 1/10 acre in the city of Holyoke, MA. I’ve not gotten around to blogging about that, nor about the other garden we visited nearby, the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, MA. But today — a chilly, rainy one here in New Hampshire — is the day to remember this visit.

The Bridge of Flowers was constructed in 1929, after fund-raising (of $1,000) by the local women’s club to implement Antoinette Burnham’s botanical vision for the former trolley bridge, which had been built in 1908 to connect the towns of Shelburne and Buckland for freight, local vegetable delivery, and passenger service. Once automobiles came along, though, delivery trucks soon superseded trolley service and the bridge became a weedy eyesore: “It was too expensive to destroy, yet it was not needed as a footbridge. It could not be destroyed partly because of expense and because it carried the water main to the Buckland side of the river.”

By the 1970s, the bridge had again deteriorated, and again the women’s club was asked to raise money to restore it, this time $580,000 for structural and other repairs. In 1983, reconstruction commenced: “Every plant, tree and shrub was removed from the Bridge and cared for in private gardens during the Restoration Project.”

You can read more details in the Bridge of Flowers website’s history section.

This is what the bridge looked like last June:


(We had lunch in that red building, the West End Pub, and it was very good, with great views. if you go, visit the basement bathroom and read about floods.)

Here we are, excited to see it!


Near the entrance:

Sign requesting no smoking, no pets, and no stepping in garden beds. Fortunately, photos are allowed.


The sky was a bit dark when we began our walk:


I think the darkness enhances the flowers’ colour.

Poppies were blooming!


And peonies:


Giant alliums, as above, and below:


And clematis:



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And yellow baptisia, one of my favourites; this one is called ‘Solar Flare:’baptisiaSolarFlareBridgeofFlowersShelburneFallsMA8June2016

There were also Asiatic lilies (amid the white-flowered Anemone sylvestris):orangeredasiaticlilyinanemoneBridgeofFlowersShelburneFallsMA8June2016

 And roses — this thistle-coloured rose smelled amazing!
We liked this interestingly patterned mountain laurel:
Kalmia latifolia ‘Minuet’ shrub (mountain laurel)
A few odds & ends:
weeping spruce
kids enjoying the garden
branch of some kind of cherry or apple tree?
wisteria vine
wisteria vine like a boa constrictor on metal pipes
pool + fountain sculpture with flowers
Just strolling on the bridge was delightful.
I hope to return again, maybe in July or September.

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