The house is full of ghosts today With happy going to and fro – They swim and sing and laugh and play This joyous group from years ago. Aunt Bessie and the Commodore Two dear and gracious souls, I say – Are wilcoming their guests once more, Just as they did it yesterday. A wedding […]

à bientôt!

I’m off to tie the knot and have a voyage de noces (that’s French for honeymoon/wedding trip I’m pretty sure if the online translation site can be trusted) in Paris. I’m armed with a bookcase’s worth of slick guidebooks that we’ll probably ignore in favor of just having a look at what’s around the next […]

Rose Garden consultation

I could use some help. Every year about this time I start thinking about getting new roses for the Rose Garden and every year about this time I go certifiably nutty trying to read between the lines of rose catalog descriptions. My kingdom for a disease resistant rose! Some of you already know that we […]

Where in the world is Blithewold? (a lovestory)

Blithewold is R.I.ght here! Like many other tycoons and coal barons in the late 19th century, the Van Wickles decided Rhode Island, a southern facing scoop of shore between Connecticut and Cape Cod, was where to “summer”. The insanely wealthy came en masse in high summer from the sweltering south to build outrageously palatial “cottages” […]


In 1926 Blithewold’s 50 year old Toon tree (Cedrela sinensis aka Toona sisensis) bloomed for the first time (and was thought to be the first one to bloom in this country). William McKee, Bessie Van Wickle McKee‘s second husband, brought the flowers to the Arnold Arboretum in Boston for identification which incited plant hunter Ernest […]