We’ve discussed before the importance of having a “thing.” Call it a hobby, passion, or interest, most of us benefit from having something that serves as a creative outlet. Some of us have gardening as that outlet, and today I want to give you a tour of my friend Diane’s garden, a particular favorite of mine.
Gardeners love nothing more than to amble through somebody else’s garden drawing inspiration, examining new plants, and leaving with a clipping or two. Our gardens are as individual as we are; take the same combination of plants and we would all create something completely different and that’s the fun of it all.
It’s no small feat to create a botanical wonder on the small lots in Richmond’s planned communities. Houses are close together and builders do not exactly provide inspired plantings in their “landscape packages.” But this can all be overcome as you shall see. So let’s put on our virtual garden clogs and take a stroll through Diane’s garden:
Nobody puts garden ornaments to use better than Diane. This can be tricky. We have all seen the garden so overloaded with tchotchkes that it induces sensory overload. Diane manages to have a variety of interesting objects in her garden while dodging the dreaded tacky bullet. She has a real knack for placing objects here and there which enhance the garden and give it a sort of timeless feel. Here we see that even her mailbox gets a little touch of garden bling:
In addition to being skilled at garden decor, Diane has done a masterful job at laying down a good workable hardscape. She has also avoided the pitfall of planting flowers too soon. Yes, I said too soon. Before you plant all those flowers, the architecture of the garden must be established with walkways, trees, shrubs, and beds. This she has done brilliantly:
How lovely is this? Your eye is drawn toward the backyard by the brick walkway and the plantings create a sense of enclosure – a garden design essential. I don’t even notice a close neighbor. Now here is what I love about Diane’s style of gardening. See that beautiful red Japanese maple on the left?
She has discreetly tucked a wire orb under the tree, something which would be easy to walk right past without noticing. Nothing shouts out “look at me!” Nothing looks like it was just placed there. These little touches are what makes her garden special and what prompts anybody touring her garden to slow down and enjoy. There’s so much to see and admire.
Diane’s garden has generous plantings of trees and shrubs including star magnolia, flowering almond, weeping plum, and crabapple. Not to mention lots of gorgeous azaleas:
Her rear property line backs up to a golf course. Trees and shrubbery offer privacy and a buffer to those pesky golf balls occasionally bulleting her way. And this little copper-roofed birdhouse is just the right touch, isn’t it?:
What I can’t convey is the sound of the birds!! We’re still in the backyard here with the golf course just on the other side of these plantings. And while this garden bed is lovely, it’s the piece of antique iron fencing that launches it into something noteworthy. And another unique bird house.
Now let’s look at some of Diane’s garden accessories:
There are bunnies tucked into corners everywhere. Which does nothing, by the way, to deter the actual bunnies which plague the gardeners in her neighborhood. You’ll notice that most of the annual flowers in this garden are in containers.
As you approach the front door, you see this gorgeousness:
Birds are treated very well in this garden. A most regal bird bath, n’est-ce pas?
But if that bird bath is crowded, never fear:
And ending up, it was a blustery day when I was snapping pictures so this isn’t the greatest but here is our Virginia state flag waving from the back deck:
And that concludes our little tour through an inspired suburban garden. Oh yes, one other very important thing. Nobody is at risk of being thrown into the dungeon. Here is an example of a perfectly pruned crape myrtle. Would we expect any less?
What I’ve learned from Diane’s garden is to clamp down a bit on my own tendency to overplant flowers and to consider whether a shrub or tree would work better. And, of course, the importance of good garden ornamentation to enhance rather than detract from the plantings.
How about you? What things have you learned from the gardens of your friends and neighbors? I hope to show you more gardens of my inspired friends in the future….if I can twist their arms.
And finally, a word on garden decor from my dear Mr. Beverley Nichols:
They were delicately carved in lead, and on the sides of each urn four heads were embossed…Whatever they cost they had to be mine. Repairing the roof could wait; mending the cracks in the ceiling could wait; the peculiar smell in the woodshed could, and almost certainly would, wait. I had to have those urns.
As always, thanks for reading,