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.

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Challenge

Some sites are not conducive to gardenmaking. It takes great skill and determination to build a garden under such challenging circumstances…… such is the case with the garden that a friend created.

                                                                            

In front, she created a wonderful perennial border with enough evergreen shrubs  & small trees to give structure and interest in winter.

The huge challenge was the back. Like so many homes in the Piedmont, it was built on a slope. A very steep slope.

Here is what she did.

A gracious, inviting entrance abuts a seating area …

Supported by terraced stone walls…

the lowest of which houses a small pond.  (below)

Below, looking DOWN into the garden.

To compound the problem, her house was downhill from her neighbour. Drainage was a nightmare. So…she incorporated  a dry steam into her design to channel the water.

She used river rock for the most natural appearance and the stones are substantial enough not to be moved by the rushing water.

Stepping stones lead the way through inspired plantings …

with touches of whimsy and surprises tucked in when least expected.

She also has some very good ideas for planting pots…

But that is another post. Thanks for the lovely visit.

© All photos & text 2010