GREAT GARDEN YEAR

Peace, quiet, birdsong, this is a great garden year!

Circle of Freinds at dusk

Circle of Friends at dusk

I am finally back into my garden! I did not realize how much I  missed it.  I spent the last years distracted by various life events and for a time ignored my own needs and passions. Learned some valuable life lessons and returned to my roots, my tribe.

20160604_161957                                  Design of pot attributed to Gertrude Jekyll

Thanks to a very mild winter, my garden this year has been sensational. EVERYTHING bloomed profusely.

Rose 'New Dawn' on old chicken house

Rose ‘New Dawn’ on the old chicken house

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Right now I am enjoying the blooms of Hydrangeas I have not seen (in my garden) for years.

'Fuji Waterfall' aka 'Starburst' these American names given to 'Hanabi'

‘Fuji Waterfall’ aka ‘Shooting Star’ these American names given to ‘Hanabi’

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Hydrangea serrata 'Miyama Yae Murasaki' (AKA Purple Tiers)

Hydrangea serrata ‘Miyama Yae Murasaki’ (AKA Purple Tiers)

The secret garden

The secret garden

It is, however, not just about what is blooming.  A ‘Garden’ must have structure and a narrative. Without these organizing principles, one simply has a collection of plants or chaos.

In my design lectures I talk about the 2 points of view on what makes a garden. One is that a garden is where one puts plants, and the other, to which I adhere, is that plants are used to create the garden.

The first is a ‘yard’. A garden is a refuge, an ongoing work of art to be honed and nurtured.

Below, a plant collector’s garden held together by it’s structure. (another post to follow about this garden & the gardener)

Ozzie Johnson's Garden

Ozzie Johnson’s Garden

 

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What are your thoughts? What is more satisfying a yard or a garden?

photos of my garden, taken with cell phone. Ozzie’s wonderful garden with a real camera!

GARDEN TOUR 2

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One of the joys of the Garden Tour Season I always look forward to, is the tour put on by Georgia Perennial Plant Association. Several chosen gardens are opened to the membership for one week- end a year. Most gardeners would have bottled water and iced tea available for the visitors. Margaret Moseley would serve her famous Almond Tea whenever her garden was opened. Last week Pimento Cheese party sandwiches were passed around on silver trays for the guests! (Did I forget to mention that in the last post?)

For several years I served as the Tour Chairperson of this organization as well as The American Hydrangea Society. I know firsthand about what it takes to create a successful event. So I was not surprised that in recent years the format has changed and only one garden is opened for a day. I like this change. One no longer has to budget their time and rush to see as many gardens as possible in the allotted timeframe. These are SPECTACULAR gardens where one could happily spend the entire day and still not take it all in.

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This year, the garden of Lyndy Broder was the featured garden. Lyndy is a dear friend and an expert on the genus Clematis. Her knowledge and talents however, go far beyond Clematis.  She has collected an amazing variety of unusual and seldom seen trees and shrubs to create a personal arboretum ‘par excellence’ on her property….and almost all are festooned with the most delicious varieties of Clematis one could imagine.

P1240753                                                                       A wall of  seed grown species welcome visitors

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P1240771                                                                            Golden Larch (Pseudolarix  amabilis) with Clematis

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The Canadian Geese Meadow leading to the lake above.

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P1240768                                            The Sanctuary of St. Fiacre, patron saint of gardeners ( loved working with Lyndy on this project)

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When a garden of this caliber is open….. everyone comes. This turned into a reunion of great plantsmen and gardeners,  a huge amount of talent here, the energy was palpable.

GARDEN TOUR SEASON

This is the first garden tour I attended this season, there are several more on the agenda.  I promise to post about them all.

Nothing says Welcome quite like a gate. I saw several that intrigued me on the  Gardens for Connoisseurs Tour to benefit The Atlanta Botanical Garden.

P1240474My friend Becky rushing in to get detail photos of this delightful gate. We were tripping over each other in excitement. look at these ….

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Clever designs and beautiful workmanship. We  loved all the details. Gates like these were in several of the gardens, a wonderful piece, both practical and whimsical.

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Several of Atlanta’s finest private gardens open for this annual event. These are all designer gardens with regular and knowledgeable  crews to tend them. They are perfectly groomed. One will never find a yellowing leaf, no space left where a plant was lost, some annual potted plant is placed in its stead, very tastefully.

Touches of whimsy…….

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The summer containers were packed with  perennial foliage plants and annuals.

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I was particularly taken with a table centerpiece …..

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and of course the peaceful sound of water.

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Beautiful gardens…..

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P1240715All in all a no miss event. With our weather this year, the gardens will be more beautiful that ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A HEALING GARDEN

I’m in Montreal to spend as much time as possible with my mom. P1210936

The Palliative Care facility here has an in credible Healing Garden for patients and their families.

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Although not  my own haven, it fills the bill temporarily.

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Big surprise is  Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’. I had no idea they were hardy to Zone 3!

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Delightful mixed with daylilies & ferns below.

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Large plantings of both wax and  tuberous begonias for annual colour.

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Ingenious solution to keep the fish safe from predators. a network of fishing line.

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Clearly all the paths are paved  and the entire garden is wheelchair accessible.

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Everything I learned  about in my year-long seminar ” Design for the Elderly & Infirm” is beautifully executed here.

I  lunch here daily, overlooking the pond,listening to the sound of the gentle fountain.

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My mom is receiving the most incredible care and we  are so grateful to the entire staff of the Palliative Care Program at Mount Sinai Hospital where she is being treated with compassion & dignity.

A huge thank you to all who left comments on my last post. I appreciate your kindness & good wishes.

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HYDRANGEA TOUR PART 2

                                                                     

The second garden on tour was that of Cheryl & Max Lenker.

It is a perfect English Style Cottage Garden; complete with rose arbor entrance, boxwood lined walk and welcoming plaque…

 The mixed borders are masterfully planted …

featuring an elegant shade structure that serves as focal point.

Adjacent to the house is an outdoor living room with all the accoutrements for gracious living & entertaining.

                                                                                                   

From this area one can enjoy the sound and sight of a split stream waterfall.

                                                                           

If one ascends to the upper level one crosses the waterfall.

Here the character of the garden changes and one discovers a quiet shaded walkway …

and a place for contemplation.

This garden has it all and of course the hydrangeas were fabulous!

We all see different elements in a garden, I have not touched on the amazing front of this house, so for more  on this garden see PRETTY OLD HOUSES  and LINDARAXA.

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.

GARDENS FOR CONNOISSEURS TOUR

There is nothing like a garden tour for some inspiration and the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s  “Gardens for connoisseurs  Tour” is one of the best.

The gardens, all private, ranged from highly manicured to woodland all in the heart of the city.

Here are some photos I took…..

I  liked the way formal elements were incorporated in to this woodland paradise….

as well as a formidable Bonsai collection.

Also,  the groundplane changed to mark the transition from one garden room to another…..

Then there is the patio area around the house….

And opposite the French Doors……

I could go on and on about this garden, it is 2.75 acres with two creeks and boasts 300 different cultivars of Japanese Maples. I did not want to leave.

In stark contrast, the next garden was about as formal as Versailles! Well actually, Vaux le Vicomte , the predecessor to the gardens at Versailles.

The above garden in search of Edward Sissorshands and an assistant!

The tour will continue. I took over 250 photos!

CAN IT BE ….SPRING?

I can’t believe I went from this..Image

to this in one day!!Image

How wonderful to be back in Georgia, where it appears we are in full-blown spring….

The gardening to do list grows daily as the overwhelming season is upon us.  Trying to separate the list into A) what will make an impact in the garden visually, and B) plant requirements. e.g. weeding  and feeding.

                                                                                       

All the camellias, both in the Circle of Friends, and the Camellia Walk are in bloom along with the Hellebores.

                                                                                          

Permeating the air is the fragrance of Daphne odora…. The garden is truly magnificent. A celebration of all the senses.

                                                                                             

The daffodils… well, they deserve their own  post.

A GARDEN VISIT

Yesterday I visited with Margaret Moseley. As usual I came home with a list of ‘must have’ plants.

                                                                                            

Margaret  has been an inspiration for many gardeners. Every season her garden is filled beauty wherever one looks.

                                                                                   

Above, a welcoming entrance… the large tree to the right is a Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), straight ahead is a Japanese Flowering Apricot (Prunus mume).

Margaret laid those stones when she was in her 70’s!

  Below, a seating area beneath a flowering cherry tree  (Prunus serrulata ‘Kwanzan’) surrounded by azaleas, camellias and underplanted with a variety of textured  & fragrant groundcovers…                                                                         

                                                                                      

Well thought out focal points….

                                                                                   

Her philosophy…

                                                                                 

Camellias in bloom…. my new plant list…

                                                                                  

                                                                                                             

                                                                                           

                                                                              

Some of these Camellias  are heirlooms, rare in the trade. While they may be a challenge to locate,  don’t give up, they are out there.

                                                                                               

                                                               

One of my personal favorites is Camellia japonica ‘Ava Maria’ (above). When I first saw it in Margret’s garden the hunt to acquire one was on! Her very generous daughter Jane located it for me. It is a  gift I treasure, as is Margaret’s friendship.

Note: plant names are visible if cursor is on photo. To read more on Margaret & her garden visit GARDEN PHOTO OF THE DAY. She is often featured.

WONDERFUL BRICK PATTERN

I have been saving these photos of a brick walkway for years.

                                                                                

Although it is a walk, there are benches on both sides so one can really appreciate the pattern.

                                                                                                                              

Details like this keep a garden interesting in all seasons. 

I want it here!

                                                            

Ahh …. the difference between the imagination and the reality.

CIRCLE OF FRIENDS

Earlier this summer, as I  sat in the Circle of Friends, I realized that after the first major flush of bloom my ‘interesting hydrangeas’ really had no impact at all. What was needed was more of the strong blue mopheads.

                                                                                    

                                                                                     

So cuttings it was, since that particular hydrangea is an unknown variety and I have no idea how to locate more.

                                                                                             

Good plan? Yes, untill I saw them today; this is what they look like now.  

                                                                                

                                                                                    

Yet, on the other side …

                                                                                

the less spectacular blue mopheads dry beautifully.

                                                                              

                                                                                

What a terrific problem to have!

A GRACIOUS GARDEN

Last week I mentioned my client the gracious Ms. C  and her luxurious  flower arrangements.  Now lets take a look at her garden.

Like so many homes here in the piedmont, the house was set into a slope which began immediately past the brick patio.

                                                                                  

High on one side… ( note patio in left corner)

                                                                                      

drop off on the other.

While several talented designers had created plans for the landscape, it was not till Ms. C  bought an antique fountain in England that serious consideration was given to getting the landscape ‘done’.  Enter me.

Entertaining  & a cutting garden were high on the list of priorities .

So, here is what we did.

We cut into the slope to bring it to grade with the patio, and we built decorative retaining walls ( stucco, same as the house). This would create a larger space for entertaining.

                                                                                      

The soil that we excavated was then reused  to create another  garden room where the grade dropped off.

                                                                                            

                                                                                 

We then terraced the slope on the opposite side …                                                                                   

      to create an herb & cutting garden on the uppermost level.

                                                                                  

                                                                                         

Here there is just enough room  to indulge her passion for gardening ,without it becoming overwhelming.

Below, a few more views…

                                                                                                   

                                                                                       

I appreciate it when my clients maintain their gardens, this one was meticulous!

A gracious garden for a gracious lady. Thank you Ms. C.

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!

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