A NEW FOCAL POINT

As I walk through the garden I see all the areas that would be much improved with a focal point.

Circle of friends

The Circle of Friends (above) has a wonderful pot, an Italian reproduction of a Gertrude Jekyll design. (I want something taller, this is too round & short)

At the end of the Rose & Clematis Walk is the  Schiaparelli Bench.

The Sciaperelli Bench

The cutting garden has several focal points as it is divided into four parterres…

Bench in cutting garden

The bench .. (On axis with the Potager)

entrance to cutting garden

St Fiacre…

and serving as focal point from  two views is one of the classic Four Seasons.. ‘Summer’…

Cutting Garden Entrance

and opposite  ( below)  an urn…  (An overturned pot acts as plinth; my Poverty Cycle)                                                                      cutting garden

My friend, the brilliant and talented  Landscape Designer Tara Dillard posts about focal points on her blog constantly!

This winter when I decorated my dinning room for holiday festivities, I was keenly aware that the view from the window was less than I hoped.So I moved ‘Summer’ from the cutting garden directly on axis with the centerpiece on the table.

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She is here temporarily, I do think ‘Winter’ would be more appropriate  since that is basically the only time we eat in the dining room, and ‘Summer’ belongs in the Cutting Garden with all the blooming beauties of her season. She has been moved  so often that to paraphrase Margery Fish “In time she will learn to walk”

Ah, decisions, decisions… I always opt for more plants and labor when spending my garden $$$$. Perhaps this will be the year I concentrate on accessories.

SPRING IS HERE!!

I’m finally convinced that spring is here! Sufficient rain and warmer weather have created ideal conditions for an explosion of blooms.                                                                      Viburnum plicatum & Azalea

Above, Viburnum plicatum & Azalea indica ‘Formosa’

Hydrangea anomala petiolaris

Climbing the wall;  Hydrangea anomala petiolaris & Clematis ‘Freckles’ using it for support.

Phlox divericata

The Phlox divericata encouraged to naturalized between the daffodils.

Clematis "asao'
Clematis “asao’

I have pruned all the Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’, and almost all the Hydrangea paniculata. I still have to deadhead the Hydrangea macrophylla but I like to attend to those last lest I get too enthusiastic and remove this years flower buds.                                                                             Aesculus pavia

Aesculus pavia

  Pruned some of the clematis that require it and took an inventory of the garden.

Some of the news is not good. I have record losses this year. There is no sign of life on several Clematis, and my favorite Quince ‘Apple blossom’ has bit the dust.

Over the last few years I have let some shrubs go and now they require some drastic pruning. Good thing I bought a good excellent lopper. That is another post, promise.

CREATING A PATH

There are two choices when creating a path.

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Curved paths create mystery, one cannot see the end.

Straight paths, on the other hand, require a focal point to stop the eye.

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Above, a reinforced focal point. The tree is the main focal point reinforced by the urn and plinth.

photo taken on recent speaking engagement in Ft. Worth TX.

HYDRANGEA SOCIETY GARDEN TOUR 1

This weekend I attended American Hydrangea Society’s Annual Garden Tour with Julieta of the outstanding food blog LINDARAXA. This was the very first time we met in person, what a warm, delightful, accomplished and charming lady she is. We connected immediately.

Check her blog for a recipe of the most delicious banana muffins she baked for our mid morning snack,  I have to admit eating more than one on the drive home!

On with the tour, the first garden is that of Michele and Alan Browne….

                                                                                              

From the moment I saw the yatsuhashi bridge spanning the dry creek bed, I knew this garden was going to be special, and it was, on so many levels.

                                                                                      

Michele, did her homework, the garden perfectly compliments the architecture of her magnificent Arts & Crafts style house.

                                                                                                  

                                                                                                   

The Japanese influence was evident throughout.

                                                                                                       

                                                                                                  

The lantern  (below) on the side of the path indicates that you are welcome to enter the garden, if it was placed ON the  path, it would mean they are not receiving.

                                                                                               

Along this path is a connoisseurs collection of hydrangeas, all young and recently planted,  Michele had to wait till the trees she planted grew enough to create the dappled shade the hydrangeas require. (this garden is only 6 years old)

Designed as a stroll garden it has the requisite water features or representaions thereof …

                                                                                             

As one comes round the back of the house one discovers  an outdoor room adjacent to the house…..

                                                                                                 

a courtyard with pergola (notice the repetition of the elephant leg columns, that make it one with the house) From this vantage point one can enjoy  a  dry landscape or meditation garden creating the illusion of water, promontory and rocky shore.

                                                                                            While typically raked sand, crushed slate is used here for ease of maintenance.

All in all, the clever use of conifers, japanese maples , and the Three Friends of Winter ( Black Pine Pinus thunbergii, Flowering Apricot Prunus mume & Bamboo) …..

                                                                                                      

the gardener has successfully created a garden of great beauty, serenity and harmony. BRAVA Michele!!

Thank you for the wonderful stroll.

CONNOISSEURS GARDEN TOUR 2

To continue the garden tour…

all were meticulously appointed…

lushly planted pots…

with a Belgian Fence as background, below…

a private putting green that can double as a Bocce Court!

The best treatment for a driveway and large parking court… antique cobbles in asphalt…

Beautiful side door…                                                                                            

A Mediterranean style home deserves a Mediterranean style courtyard, below.

Then there was THE GARDENER….

I’m told he never stops working nor has he ever asked for a raise!  Below, the no maintenance garden…

Interesting treatment for steps….

and finally one of my favorite gardens, below…

There is a marvelous screened porch….

overlooking a stunning English Knot garden.

 Admittedly, I did not get to all the gardens. There were eleven gardens on the two-day tour and I saw only nine, in one day.

I strongly suggest this annual tour held on Mother’s Day weekend to benefit The Atlanta Botanical Garden.  Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

FALL TOUR

 The area of the garden I’m sharing now on this Fall Tour is little seen because it’s incomplete. Not that any garden is ever ‘done’ or completed, however this part is has only ‘bones’ and is waiting for me to flesh out the details.  Till now it did not seem too pressing because all the important plants were tiny (1 gal.) but over the years they have matured. So its time has come. 

This green space above, divides the grapes and berries on the right from the vegetables on the left. (My husband’s Vegetable Garden is MY POTAGER)

                                                                                 

This feature, four upright exclamation points, is one I repeat in different garden rooms (with different plants)  throughout the garden. Here,  Eastern Arborvitae  (Thuja occidentalis)  ‘Degroot’s Spire’  marks the intersection of several foot paths; to the right ( West) is the Rose Walk terminated by the Schiaparelli Bench….. (below)

 to the left (east) lies the North Border which runs parallel to the Potager ….

                                                                          

and straight ahead, (south) the Viburnum / Clematis Court.

                                                                                           

Looking back, (north) the uprights  frame the putti that resides at the end of the Cutting garden…

                                                                                               

Going forward (south) through the Viburnum Court, around the bend, Oakleaf  Hydrangeas frame the path to the Main Walk and the  back of the house. (note the Camellia sasanqua blooming on the right.)

                                                                                         

This winter some garden construction is on the agenda.

FINIALS – IN – WAITING

“At each end of this lovely little wall were two brick pillars. They stood there, perfectly poised, exactly the right height, exactly the right width. But in spite of their architectural rightness they were wrong, or rather, they were incomplete. They had obviously been built to hold something – carved pineapples, or stone balls, or…or…or Urns.

It was when the word Urns came into my head that the garden was born” – Beverly Nichols

Lacking a lovely wall or even just the brick pillars…. I have finials, two sets. One, a basket of flowers….

        The other of fruit.                                                                              

FINIALS – IN – WAITING!   

 “Surely – in all matters appertaining to elegance – the most important thing to do first is the last thing?” – Beverly Nichols

We think alike.

THIS ‘N’ THAT

Two great ‘finds’ I want to share.

First,  a great book on Hydrangeas.

                                                                            Not a textbook of different cultivars and breeding crosses but one that addresses the basic  questions about  pruning, drying, cutting, planting , fertilizing etc. THE COLORFUL WORLD OF HYDRANGEAS by Joan Harrison deserves a space in every garden  library.

Second, I just discovered  the very best container  for gathering fresh stems.

                                                                               

                                                                                      Three compartments…

                                                                                    

 and a comfortable carrying handle. Just one of the items available from http://www.arrangingsupplies.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=AFY&Product_Code=321&Attributes=Yes&Quantity=1

I found several useful items here, maybe you will too. Did you notice the  lilies? ….These are Lilium rubrum.

THE BOTHY

                                                 

For years I have wanted a greenhouse /potting shed /garden house/ conservatory…  any structure in the garden to serve the above purposes would do. Not to be confused with a tool shed, we have one of those.

                                                       

Over the years , what I had heard from clients who built any one of the above, is that they were  expensive… One client calls  hers “The Taj” another “The Potting Chateau” … you get the idea…  

Then,  I saw the structure Susanne Hudson built in her garden. Soon as I saw Susanne’s Folly, I knew mine was within reach.

                                                                

Susanne is one of those Designers who can make something  out of nothing!! She built this  conservatory with found windows.

                                                          

Same idea as what Bunny Williams did with windows  & pilasters she rescued from a Hudson River estate. Below.

                                                           

I had to work with what I had, the abandoned chicken coop (terrible story …. dogs chewing through wire… feathers everywhere…..heartbreaking!).

‘Thrown together’ by my husband and untrained labor when I was out of town (I’m apparently too ‘demanding’!)  It was the focal point in the Potager! I don’t even have a photo and believe me…that’s a good thing!

Last week  Susanne Hudson surprised me with a visit . As fate would have it,  she had WINDOWS  in her van and she left them for me!

                                                       

Today  I am 8 windows closer to completing  my garden structure …. the BOTHY.

                                                                   

Edith Hope suggested the name when I posted a potting shed. She commented that it needed a tattered but comfortable armchair and tea making facilities. Then she would call it A BOTHY.

(A one room hut or cottage where unmarried male servants  lodged… Also an unlocked shelter where the wayfarer could seek shelter.)

I’m almost there!

SHOCKING!

Think pink! 

Shocking Pink! 

Schiaparelli* Pink!    

  

Same colour as the pink ‘Knockout Roses’ below…

                                                                             

 BUT the main purpose was to detract from the mess weeds in that garden space. Distraction as a design tool?  It works!

(Paint Behr 680B-5  Strawberry Freeze)

*Elsa Schiaperelli, provocative fashion designer, rival of Coco Chanel.

FUN & GAMES

Chess anyone?

                                                                                          

Come out to play!

                                                                                 

Or perhaps you prefer to walk on water.

A garden is more than the sum of it’s plants. Have some fun!

© All photos 2011

ALMOST ROADKILL!

Look who I rescued today.

                                                                                             

There she was…. sauntering across the highway.

                                                                                          

Unaware of the danger, she was almost roadkill!!

 She will live in the ( just being built ) Bothy.

We are converting the old chicken coop………

                                                                                                       

still under construction, but I love it already!

                                                                                               

Shelves need to be added along with a comfortable armchair… tattered of course, and tea making facilities.  To be continued.

THE REAL DEAL

How often do you see this?

                                                                         

                                                                  

Real copper gutters aged to verdigris. lovely!

© All photos & text 2010