ANGELA AND WILLIAM CRUGER'S LITCHFIELD COUNTY LANDSCAPE FLOURISHED IN SPRING BUT FLAMED OUT IN AUGUST. NOW THEY ARE KEEPING THE BRILLIANCE BURNING ALL YEAR LONG
By anyone's standards, Angela and William Cruger's 50-acre Litchfield County garden was brilliant from the start. Walled spaces were carefully laid out, two greenhouses awaited their whim and perennial beds had been thoughtfully planted along with a fenced cutting garden, august specimen trees and a mature orchard. It was so beautiful that the couple bought the property in 1993, while still living in Tokyo, and admired it from afar until they moved back to the States three years later.
Their first spring back, the orchard was flourishing and the Crugers were bedazzled. The 'Miss Kim' lilac standards were bristling with blooms, bulbs were scattered about and the perennial beds were up and coming. By August, however, it was all gone, and the couple was left wondering if the fizzle was due to a failure on their part. After all, this was Angela's first gardening adventure, and though she's not the type to quake in her Wellies, she worried what the neighbors would think of the land's newest stewards. "Clueless" was one word that came to mind.
Angela and William's sense of failure dissipated when they discovered the landscape had been a spring and early-summer fling for the previous owners, who went elsewhere for the remainder of the growing season. Angela's immediate mandate was to extend the performance over the long haul. How to accomplish this while educating herself about gardening was a challenge, but the Crugers had come to Litchfield County planning for baptism by watering can—and dirty deeds were just what they desired.