Blithewold Mansion, Gardens, and Arboretum is a 33-acre summer estate located in Bristol, RI that overlooks Narragansett Bay. They open each year with Daffodil Days, an event that celebrates Spring with thousands upon thousands of daffodils bursting open along their winding woodland and garden paths. The gardens at Blithewold are stunning and include a bamboo forest, a vegetable garden, a water garden, as well as several gorgeous perennial beds.
My main reason to visit this weekend was to attend the first in a series of lectures and tours through the estate’s vegetable garden. These “Mornings in the Vegetable Garden” events occur the second Saturday of every month all summer long and are designed to “encourage and offer guidance to the home gardener, or anyone interested in producing their own vegetable garden.” Even though it’s a bit early to plant most vegetables, the assistant groundskeeper Dan Christina led an informative discussion about how they are prepping the garden, including their methods for composting, making raised beds, pest control, and succession planting for higher yields. The vegetable garden at Blithewold produced two tons of food last summer, much of it is donated to local food banks and the remainder is fed to Blithewold’s lucky camp students, staff, and volunteers. It would be fascinating to attend each of these events every month throughout the summer and see how things are changing, especially for a novice gardener like myself.
Each time I visit Blithewold, I am amazed how beautiful and meticulously kept the grounds and greenhouse are. The beds are pretty bare compared to how they’ll look mid summer, but everything that was starting to grow looked verdant and so healthy. You can tell the staff their takes a lot of pride in their work and lovingly care for the grounds – I’m sure the estate’s original owners would be so grateful.