Monday, August 1, 2011
For Atlantans who go on the Atlanta Botanical Garden's annual Connoisseurs' Tour, this is a familiar sight. Readers of garden books and magazines will also recognize international garden designer Ryan Gainey's handiwork. I've learned something new every time I've stepped into this wondrous creation. The garden changes with the seasons, and you can always expect the latest plant introductions and trends to be represented in unusual ways. I'm forever coming away scratching my head, saying, "How did he think of this?"
This is a path you can see if you're standing on the sidewalk beside Ryan's house. If you're there on Mother's Day weekend, the second weekend in May, you'll see roses overhead on the arches. This photograph was taken in June, and you can recognize oakleaf hydrangeas in their last moments of glory.
In years past, I've seen this path crowded with thistle and other plants that were in vogue at the time. Here it is tamer, and the clean outlines can be appreciated along with the placement of certain plants along the way. Still, it's the sort of cottage garden I like, with organized lines flanked by some order and some chaos. For example, an oriental lily is hanging out ready to bloom on the right hand side. For structure, clipped boxwoods appear as balls in the foreground, while those closer to the focal point - an urn holding an agave - are pyramidal with leveled tops.
This is yet another garden chock full of design ideas that would be fun to try. I've just looked back at this batch of photos and realized how many treasures there are to share from this one place. I've been going to this garden now for at least 25 years, and every single time I've come away overwhelmed at Ryan's genius and excited about all the possibilities out there in the garden world.