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.

I’M BOOKED!!

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I can barely contain my excitement. I was sent another gift;  a signed, coffee table book.  A garden I designed and built is included in it!

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MADISON: A Classic Southern Town,  is a bicentennial celebration of  Madison Georgia,  “the town Sherman refused to burn.”

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Written by William R. Mitchell Jr.and photography by Van Jones Martin and James R. Lockhart, it is an exquisite house and garden tour through what is considered one of the most beautiful antebellum towns in Georgia.

Some of the gardens I have designed over the years, received recognition. This is the first time one was ever been published in a hard covered book.

Thank you M & W You know who you are!

This garden clearly illustrates my design philosophy; the seamless unity of house and garden.

WINTER GARDEN WALK 2

This time we had to see if there was any damage in the garden. We had already heard the loud thump as a huge limb fell in the drive. Our guests thought it might have hit their car, which it did not…. but not by much!

                                                                                                                                                     

This is the other side of the coin… gardening under trees can result in some damage in a windstorm. and these storms are not uncommon in Georgia.

                                                                                  

Below,the evergreen planting of Viburnum awabuki ‘Shindo’ meant to hide the garden shed is ravaged! A large limb (not shown)  came down right in the middle of it.

                                                                                   

                                                                                             

 Some major pruning and clean-up, is now on my “To Do” list.

Still there is so much beauty out there I can hardly complain…

                                                                                     

While Mother Nature is editing the garden……..

FINALLY!… WELL,SORT OF..

It has taken a few years but I finally have a purple Clematis blooming with the yellow berries of the Viburnum Michael Dodge…..sort of.. She is Elsa Spath and she is usually all  purple.

                                                                                              

I have no idea  why she presented this way but….. a gardener’s hope springs eternal… maybe next year…

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.

LESSONS FROM CHARLESTON S.C.

 No cameras in the gardens! The only photography allowed  was from the public sidewalk. Still there are many lessons to be learned.

                                                                                    

All the gardens are small, tiny in fact, some no larger than a postage stamp.

                                                                                    

In small gardens, design  is more important than it is in  larger landscapes; for here, there is a concentrated use of space. Also, because the space is limited and seen all at once, the details & planting must be faultless.

                                                                              

Consider the ground plane, it is significant in all seasons. Below, variety in materials & texture. This is a driveway.

                                                                                 

 With a little imagination —- garden by day, parking at night.

                                                                                

 There should always be a focal point to lead the eye.

                                                                                     

                                                                                            

Reinforce the design of beds with edging.

  

Keep the planting simple,

                                                                                    

       And finally.. co-ordinate…

                                                                               

THE MEADOW…YET AGAIN

                                                                                      The meadow is once more looksing like an impressionist painting. Swaths of blue native phlox (Phlox divericata) make their way between the daffodil foliage and the ‘Wake Robin’  ( Trillium cuneatum) .

                                                                                       

                                                          

                                                                   

The trees are now playing an important role, so the focus changes.

                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                              

This is The Meadow viewed from the driveway on west side of the house looking east. (Above) 

                                                                                   

Soon the weeds & wild grasses will cover this all and it will look wild & wonderful. Then the hum of beneficial insects, bees and butterflies will fill the air. After the plants set their seed it will get the annual cut. This meadow gives me 12 months of joy!!

© all photos 2011

Note: WordPress noted that I published a draft & not the updated version of this post AFTER it was posted…why not BEFORE???

A QUICK TOUR

Spring is unfolding ………..

                                                                                        

Suddenly, everything is so far along !

                                                                                 

The trilliums are coming up.

                                                                                             

 Flowering Quince  In the Viburnum Court…

                                                                                                

                                                                                           

Helleborus foetidus top & Helleborus orientalis above.

All Nature’s Masterpieces.

© All photos & text 2011

DESIGN “HOW TO”

Donna, at Garden Walk Garden Talk has just completed a series which outlines in detail the design process.  This series is so well done I wish I would have written it. 

Click  below for a summary of the posts with a link to each.

  http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com/2011/01/21/process-of-design-the-base-plan/

/http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com/2011/01/22/process-of-design-site-analysis/

http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com/2011/01/23/program-needs-process-of-design/

http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com/2011/01/25/schematic-design-process-of-design/

http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com/2011/01/27/plan-development-process-of-design/

MEANWHILE, IN THE GARDEN..

On a tour of the garden today, signs of spring …

                                                                                           

The Meadow is coming alive..

                                                                                              

Soon I’ll  post the results of 13 years of rescuing daffs and trying to achieve the ‘English Thing’.

                                                                                   

Meanwhile the Winter garden is doing what it is supposed to and is at  its peak….The “peak” lasts a few months…  Above, Prunus mume & Helleborus, below, a camellia…

                                                                                                  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Below,  evergreen shrubs make this is a very satisfactory garden area. 

                                                                                                                                                    

 

Notice, below, the variegated Boxwood, the berries on the Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica ‘Alba’) and the groundcover  Sweet Flag  (Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’ )…

                                                                                                    

 This is usually the time of year projects get started &/ or continued to be worked on, some, for many seasons. There are so many projects…..

When we started this  garden, we did not consider, EVER, declining  physical stamina.

© All photos & text 2011

AN INDISPENSABLE PERENNIAL

I am not a huge proponent of perennials. I find they require too much maintenance for a very short show and then, even the foliage disappears for the winter. There are of course exceptions. Peonies for example are worth whatever effort is required for even one day of bloom but of course they do last 10 days to 2 weeks in the garden and are stunning in a vase (see Reggie Darling on the pronunciation). The foliage too is quite handsome for most of the summer and useful in arrangements with other flowers as well.

The perennials I consider indispensable are those that have evergreen foliage. Perhaps the best of these are the Hellebores (Helleborus species).

                                                                                                  

They exhibit handsome leathery foliage, appreciate shade, and furnish the garden with much-needed greenery when it is most welcome .

I particularly like them planted at the feet of deciduous shrubs…

                                                                                             

 and at the base of large trees where not much else will grow.

                                                                                                

  Planted in masses, they make an effective ground cover.

Even in northern climates where there is snow cover for most of the winter, their flowers popping up through the melting snow is a sight to behold.

I do hope you include some in your landscape.

© All photos & text 2011

THE WINTER GARDEN

With all the holiday activities over I finally got into the garden. What a relief! It is so quiet and peaceful, in stark contrast to the last weeks. It truly is my sanctuary… just as I planned it.

                                                                                           

Gardening in Georgia, one can have a winter garden that BLOOMS.  From time to time a hard freeze will turn my magnificent camellia flowers to brown mush….

                                                                                             

 but in a day or two when it warms, the new buds open and the show begins again.

                                                                                           

 Even if they did not bloom, their evergreen presence create the ‘bones’.  I always start with the winter structure when I design landscapes. Without structure,  a collection of plants scattered about without any rhyme or reason, is just….. well, a collection of plants just scattered about!  Below,’ BEFORE’ at a client’s.

                                                                                             

While I love the warm spells, my hydrangeas (the macrophylla types) are all too anxious to welcome spring and start to break bud. Not a good thing!!

                                                                                          

The next frost will damage the flower buds that are already exposed. I’m going to try covering with ‘Remay’ a protective covering , or ‘floating row cover’ used in the nursery trade. Hopefully they will be spared. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

© All photos & text 2011

DRUNK with CAMELLIAS!!

Vita Sackville West wrote of her garden… “I am drunk with roses!”

I, am drunk with Camellias!

blooming on the right …

                                                                       

              Camellia japonica ‘Debutante’                                                       

The Camellia Walk snakes through the shade garden in the form of an inverted ‘S’

Below, it is the Camellia Walk which forms the background for the Mourning Bench.

                                                                    

                                                                   

In the Potager, below, a salad Garden, some collards & cabbages.

                                                                   

In the Cutting Garden, the seeds of the Lilies (Lilium formosanum)are ripe. Please e-mail me if you would like seeds. There were some request  after I posted the flowers, HERE.

                                                                 

AND… The Continuing Saga of yet another project….

                                                                    

An improvement since the last time I posted this spot.

I will be away from the computer for a week. Will fill you in when I return.

 © All photos & text 2010

THE GARDEN UNFOLDS

An overcast and rainy day. Great for the garden, good for photography. In the last post the photo of the entrance to both the Camellia Walk & Circle of Friends was not clear so here are some taken today.

                                                                  

This is where the Camellia Walk begins. a few yards over to the right  lies… (keep your eye on the pink flowering camellia)

                                                                     

the walkway that leads to the Circle of Friends. Note that the pink flowering camellia plays a role in both garden rooms.

                                                                  

 

The east side of  The Circle of Friends, punctuated by variegated boxwoods (Buxus sempervirens ‘variegata’). This space is actually oval in shape.  All the plants in this little garden were gifted to me or were cuttings from the gardens of friends, hence the name. It is encircled by camellias (as background structure) and hydrangeas.

                                                                     

On the west side, the structure of camellias is the back side of the Camellia Walk. Like most areas in the garden it is unfinished however, what I plan can be found here.

 Leaving this area and following the path we intersect with the Camellia Walk . (it curves round)

                                                                      This is marked by the interesting texture of four upright Japanese Plum Yews (Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Fastigiata’) and underplanted with variegated Japanese Sedge (Carex morrowii);  the idea being to tie in the variegation and create an ‘Elizabethan Collar” around the yews.

A few yards past this intersection lies the Mourning Bench. As I have said before; one can pass it without noticing. It sits between the two variegated boxwoods on the right. Below…

                                                                 

 

If this path is followed further,one gets to the Potager. We have been walking north. Below, the view from the north looking south back through to the meadow.

                                                                 

The repetition of  the Variegated Box & the Carex create  rhythm and serve to tie the sequential spaces together into a coherent whole.

To be continued…

© All photos & text

PHOTO TOUR

                                                               

                                                                                                         

                                                                   

                                                                    

                                                                      

                                                                  

 And in the potager…

                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                            

© All photos 2010