Tuesday, October 19, 2010

About those other 1,000 gardens.....I'm revisiting a few this week

My wife and two sons do garden installation and maintenance, for almost 9 years now. Time flies! The three of them, Karen, Max, and Peter are in great demand and for the next week or so, I'm going to be a "guest laborer/visitor" on some of their jobs. It's a great position. Since I'm not on the payroll, they don't make me do the real heavy labor, but I get to see the gardens and how they've progressed since the initial design/installation. Most are gardens that I designed, so it's eye-opening to me to see how they've evolved, or devolved.

Yesterday I went to a garden in Bethesda that was designed to be viewed, like a picture, from inside the windows across that back of the house...these clients preferred looking outside to being outside. Our goal was to create a space with the appearance of a jungle, an Henri Rousseauean sort of jungle. The space already included two large metal cut-outs strikingly reminiscent of the black silhouettes in some of Rousseau's paintings. We needed textural variety not only at ground level, but at least 25 feet up in the air, so we used some interesting plants including, Pawpaws, Red buckeyes, large Ferns, a Bigleaf magnolia, 'Black Lace' Elderberries, and a drifting mass of Hydrangeas. It's grown in fairly well over the last four years but some of the trees behind the planting (the planting is backed up by a wooded area) had grown toward the house/sun and were shading the "jungle plants" and in turn, causing them to lean forward. I removed a few ~6" diameter volunteers, staked a Paw paw upright, and things seem back on track.

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