As promised today brings the sixth and final Garden tour preview.
A GARDEN FOR STROLLING
“In 30 years a lot can happen. In the owners case, the loss of numerous Austrian pines to pine wilt triggered a garden overhaul, or as one owner gently describes, a reconfiguration. Shifting from shade to sun, the years of “puttering” turned a large backyard space off a busy road into what feels like the grounds of a mini estate.
The small brick-lined gardens bordering the front of the house are filled with low-growing plants and shrubs that show off their leaves rather than their blooms. Dotted among the varied leaf shapes and patterns, potted annuals add color and a small, elegant water feature complements the cool greens. The subtleness of these neatly designed shady areas gives little hint of what awaits you at the back of the house.
As you round the back corner of the house, a wall of clematis greets you on your left while on your right is a slightly mounded butterfly garden. One owner tucks pots of annuals and shrimp plants between the butterfly bushes and coneflowers to further enhance color and variety in a sunny spot. The subtle height of the garden is very effective, for not only is it an eye-stopping entrance to the gardens but the rise acts as a shield, so when stepping past you are surprised and delighted by the long view of a greenway surrounding island gardens.
Before wandering off, stop and admire the wooden deck and brick patio shaded by a large pin oak and bordered by bright impatiens and a lovely waterfall. The terraces of the waterfall are formed by native stone and planted with Japanese maple, ferns and bugleweed. Hostas and other large-leafed plants fill the space between the patio and falls. The water feature is not only beautiful, but the moving water screens out street noise, creating a truly tranquil spot.
The greenway now invites you to stroll through the gardens along a brick path or play soccer with the kids in the open grass. The western edge of the property is shaded by remaining pines. Under them hydrangea, vinca and stone sculptures fill out a deep meandering border.
Moving further towards the back of the lot you pass through a gateway of sorts consisting of a lovely cedar arbor and potting bench built by the owners. Enter into a bright opening boasting a vegetable garden surrounded by the sturdiest, most attractive critter fence you have ever seen. Here also is one of the sun gardens and a magnolia tree whose presence was made possible by sacrificed trees.
Wander back through garden islands of spruce, redbuds and remaining pines surrounded by roses, hydrangea, coleus and large pots of elephant ears, canna, leopard plants, begonias and impatiens. The many hydrangeas are gifts from students and colleagues commemorating the owner’s 36-year career as a teacher. The potted amaryllis plants in the garden are especially dear and hold memories of a father.
It all looks painstakingly planned. But the owners insists there are no rules, and they spend lots of time moving plants about.
Tip: Plant memories in your garden with cuttings, seeds and donations from friends.”