Thursday, December 29, 2011

A path leading to somewhere wonderful


I don't know the owners of this garden - I wish I did.  I'd like to tell them what they've done - forced me to break one of the Ten Commandments:  "Thou shalt not covet."

This photograph was taken on a garden tour one June.  The garden surrounds a rambling country style house (clapboard with a shake roof) hidden in the woods on a winding Atlanta street.  It's a huge garden, with paths that lead through the woods and out into sunny spaces.  It's one of those gardens you can't see all at once. The scene here is one of several entrances that run off the gravel parking in front of the house.

The owners have managed to make you think there's something both along the way and at the end of the path - and there is.  The first path I took led under an iron arch and through a beautifully planted woodland to a big, flat (rare in Atlanta) manicured lawn hidden in the woods.  Mature conifers, hardwoods and blue mophead hydrangeas surrounded what must serve as a place for children to play or maybe an area for bocce ball or croquet.

I love the entrance you see above - the Clematis armandii on the left next to ferns;  boxwoods, dianthus, Provence lavender;  I'm assuming the purple shrub is either loropetalum or barberry.  If my memory serves correctly, this entrance leads to the back of the house where there's a large, rectangular potager.  The latter is enclosed by a rustic fence outlined in clipped boxwoods.  Fig trees grow just outside the fence on the opposite side.  Strawberry plants covered the tiny slopes around the vegetable garden. This latter was almost too painful to bear.  To top it all off, there was a billowing pink hydrangea with huge blooms growing at the corner.  At the other end was a cheery mix of cottage type flowers.  I recognized one of the Saul brothers' designer coneflowers, blooming merrily away.

The view from the vegetable garden was down another path (I didn't even have the heart to take it), where you could see graceful conifers interplanted with shrubs.  A big farm bell - the kind you'd use to call everyone in for dinner - was mounted on a tall wooden post across from the vegetable garden.

I am kidding about the coveting thing; well, sort of.  I can feel my heart beating faster as I describe what I saw. This garden had just about everything I love - great trees, many shrubs, ferns, flowers, hydrangeas, ground covers, hidden paths that lead you to somewhere wonderful.  I'm sure I saw espaliered apple trees, or at least a line of apple trees down a path that was closed off.  I hope it will come on tour again, and I can explore it further.  There's a wealth of ideas here for just about anyone, no matter what your climate.  I'll let you know if I find out any more about the garden and its creators.