It’s that time of year again where my family thinks I have fallen off the face of the earth, I consume far more Junior Mints than one person should be allowed and I often pull 12-14 hour days. Despite the hectic pace of this season, I still anticipate it every year like a child at Christmas.
I have some wonderful gardens going in this spring with a broad stylistic range. We have been working on a petite garden in a beach community where despite the small size, the garden lives large. A stone patio with boulders inset at the edges and surrounded by a custom-built pergola forms the main outdoor living space. A stock tank water feature acts as the centerpiece with a stainless steel taro leaf dripper to provide ambient sound. Coupled with ample bed space, pools of river rock and high cascade granite edging, all make for a very sophisticated small garden. Horizontal, freestanding custom screening panels are offset and placed strategically to give a sense of privacy to the garden which is situated close to neighbors. A wider span on the slats and the offset prevents the screens from making the garden feel cramped. Plant palette to be exotic in feel (yet cold hardy!) with large foliage and bold colors. Strategically placed ornamental grasses will soften the hardscape.
The second install currently underway is on a much larger scale – a 2 1/2 acre property bathed in southwestern exposure with a country modern home perched at the top of a knoll. Existing established stands of natives have been left intact and weaved into the design blending the garden into the surrounding open space. Stone adds a sense of permanence and balances the mass of the house. Walls, patio, stairs and boulders surround the house all softened by ample bed space. Mature specimen small trees nestle the house such as a trio of sun tolerant Acer palmatum ‘Hogyoku’ and Acer japonicum. As you move away from the house, the plantings become more naturalistic and native. A dry creek winds down the hill and connects with the active drainage ditch which is blended into the “creek”. Water is retained in a pool to be surrounded by bog plants allowing the water to perk into the soil reducing surface water runoff. An outlet provides for overflow during the heaviest rainfall. Moisture loving plants such as Primula bulleyana, Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’ and Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ will live happily in this damp area. A grove of Betula utilis jacquemontii (Whitebarked birch) stand in the background.
Before and after shots of the beach garden. Note the roof line on the neighboring house to orient yourself.