Tuesday, July 8, 2008

It's a Beautiful Garden, and George, Mary says you're the Godfather of the plants

I love going to Takoma Park to do garden designs; I am almost always on the same page as the client. And sometimes I really get lucky like I did with this garden just inside the Dstrict of Columbia. I designed the back, reworked the side, and worked with Mary, Karen, and the Guys to add some elements in front. It has been three years now and the garden was one of the stars of the 2008 Takoma Park House and Garden Tour. It would be disingenuous not to admit that this was a pleasant garden when I first saw it. I observe somewhat immodestly that it would be equally unfair not to observe that it is a magical place now. Mary works at it and Max, Peter, and Karen are there a few times a year. And it did rain a lot this year, so its a joint effort.

There are no deer, and there are some wonderfully sunny areas, but there is also deep shade and voracious tree roots invade the planting in a few places. It is, I guess, a garden focused more on the summer than other seasons, but there are some special plants that bloom in the spring; one deep purple intensely fragrant lilac arches over the driveway across from the stairs to the back deck. For fragrance later in the season we added a hardy Gardenia beneath it, that has flourished. In the bottom picture you can see an amazing stand of monarda. When it has finished its second flowering, it will be cut to a foot or so to regrow and a Hibiscus 'Lord Baltimore' will take over the space. Roses, Viburnums, Camellias, Hydrangeas, Cercis and other woodies provide structure and color.

The sunniest bed is along the driveway beside the house; there are roses. one is visible through the front planting in the top picture, and a number of sun perennials including some cool daylilies and some Gerber Daisies that survive the winter in this site. Tucked amongst them are divisions of a Calla that was originally planted by George Waters, (Conifers and Dogwoods Gardener at the Arboretum). Across the driveway in a sunbaked strip of soil are Rosemary and Lavender and some Dahlias that also survive outside.

The porch off the back of the house is bedecked with containers of annuals, all sizes of pot and all sizes of plants. I can't imagine how much time it must take to water, prune, and deadhead them. I can say that I have never seen them when they weren't perfectly maintained. I guess Mary is a little bit fanatical like so many of us are. But hey, that's a good thing!

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