What I Did on My April Vacation

Last week was April school vacation week here in Massachusetts, and we used the time to take a vacation through Pennsylvania and New York. After visiting family over Easter weekend, we headed west to Lancaster County, where we visited the Moravian town of Lititz.

The town museum is housed in an old German building made of stone, and behind it is a small public garden, which you enter via a very inviting arbor:


The only flowers there right now are some new pansies since it’s still early spring, but you can see some green perennials poking up as well:


The centerpiece is this diamond-shaped bed, which for some reason I failed to center in the photo:


This is all probably quite lovely in the summer. What you can’t see is that if you keep walking through the garden, you’ll continue down a slope that goes to the small river that runs through town. 

The next day we went to the Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, which has original buildings, buildings moved to the site and reproductions of Pennsylvania German architecture from the 1800s. They’re also well known for their heirloom seed production, and we picked up a few packages to try next year. The typical garden there is made of four large raised beds: 


This is a simplified version of the design we chose for our own garden, and if we ever downsize, this is likely our new plan. We like the full fence enclosure as well, for obvious reasons. There’s also a planting bed around the whole perimeter, which was filled mostly with herbs:


Our guide identified the spiky plant in the photo as henna, though I’m not convinced. It doesn’t look anything like photos I’ve seen, and from what I understand henna can’t be grown outdoors year round in cold climates. Perhaps it’s a substitute for that color dye? If anyone knows about dye plants, chime in!

As we worked our way back north, we also stopped at Niagara Falls. Daffodils were everywhere on this trip, even alongside a waterfall:


Daffodils must like the weather just a stitch warmer than what we get, because I have never been able to get them to naturalize well in our garden. All across Pennsylvania and New York, there were massive swaths (a crowd, a host!) of them. I’ll admit to being a little jealous of how well they seem to do everywhere but at our house.

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