Thursday, February 2, 2012

An intriguing entrance


If all this is going on at the entrance of this garden, a first time visitor might wonder what on earth lies inside.  Yes, it gets even better.

I took this photograph on August 22, not a prime time for Atlanta gardens.  Yet, if you crop out the browning blooms of the Hydrangea paniculata that has been limbed up and hangs overhead, everything else looks pretty good, considering.

First, I have to comment on the stone columns.  They had just been completed maybe a week before I was there.  I've already had them copied by the same person who built them.  He obtained the exact stone and made entrance columns for the farm.  In the middle is an iron-looking gate (really aluminum painted black).  I must say it looks great.  I winced at the cost of doing this, but already the compliments have poured in.  Several people stopped by as he was building the columns and asked for his card.  The leftover stone is at my house in Atlanta, awaiting some magical cash that I hope will materialize soon.

Anyway, I would like two such columns at the entrance to my yet-to-be-planted pocket garden.  I'll probably go with an iron gate (I hope to find an old one), as it matches my house better.

But it's the plantings here that fascinate me.  There's a lot going on.  Confederate jasmine is trained on the wall of the house to the left.  Above that is Clematis armandii hanging down.  Cast iron plant, hostas, boxwood and autumn ferns are crammed in at ground level.  

On the other side I can make out 'Sky Pencil' holly, a standard of some sort, a couple of conifers (hard to discern here, but I have other views that show them), a scalloped bird bath, and an oakleaf hydrangea in the foreground.  

This is only a fraction of all the different plants here.  There's lots more jammed in on both the left and the right.  Behind the left hand column is a limbed up Camellia japonica.  And, so it goes when once you pass through the gate.

I won't be able to have all this.  You can imagine that this is a high maintenance garden.  The owner, who has designed and installed gardens for years, makes no bones about it.  There's constant pruning and clipping and shaping, and she likes it tour-worthy at any given time.  This is great for me, because I can call her on the spur of the moment and ask to come over, and there are never any excuses (i.e., there's nothing in bloom right now).  Sometimes, I'll go over and wander in, just if I need a little inspiration or even a pick-me-up.  There's always a wealth of ideas to consider, and I always see something I've never noticed before.