Collector’s gardens are frowned upon by designers, most likely because the parts are of greater importance than the sum, and that is true to some degree in this garden. Sacrifices, most very minor (I think), have been made to cram in another Japanese maple, or any of a dozen (or more) other small collections. Hopefully, I have not thrown in the towel completely on design, but I cannot dispute that there is a bit of a hodgepodginess to the garden. In any case, I could not imagine changing a thing to suit somebody else’s idea of proper design.
To satisfy curiosity that there is at least some aesthetic appeal, I will occasionally take photos of random corners of the garden for a more overall view, rather than only of individual plants. And, what better time for photos than late May when the growth and blooms are most lush and abundant.
The view down the slope to the rear garden will be more obstructed in a few weeks as the Silver Cloud redbud fills in. Alliums are most evident in the foreground of this photo, but there are also toad lilies, black mondo, Blue mist shrub, roses, Graham Blandy columnar box, Francis Williams hosta, and Chardonnay Pearls deutzia. There are a number of toad lilies and hostas in other parts of the garden, and at least a handful of various redbuds with colored and variegated foliage.
In this older photo, the front of the house is obscured by Japanese maples and dogwoods. Today, less of the house is visible from the street. The stone path to the front door is overhung by branches of two Seriyu Japanese maples. A purple leafed beech off the left corner of the house (just out of view) dominates the front lawn. With deep shade and the beech’s shallow roots, the lawn thinned each year until the sparse grass was removed and replaced by hostas, epimediums, and native carex.
Looking across the koi pond to the stone patio and fire pit. Shallows of the pond are planted with yellow flag and Japanese irises, rushes, and sweetflag. The yellowish upright on the left is Golden fernspray cypress. The juniper to the right is Gold Cone, which is striking in the low humidity of the west coast, and in Virginia in May, but then it fades to green by mid June.
This blue leafed hosta is tucked between small granite boulders that border the patio, and beneath a golden Fernspray cypress. By mid summer this spot is a bit too sunny and the hosta fades slightly. Then, a white flowered coneflower snakes from beneath the hosta’s wide spreading leaves. In the foreground are Creeping Jenny and a small leafed, variegated sedum.
Snow damaged branches of the Gold Cone juniper must be pruned sometime soon. The geraniums in the foreground are seedlings of Espresso, a dark leafed selection of the native wild geranium. The tree behind the gold juniper is red Horse chestnut, and to the left side, behind the wagon wheel bench is the Golden Full Moon maple.
The green leafed Viridis Japanese maple has grown ten or twelve feet across, at least. It is difficult to measure its spread since a third of the tree protrudes over this small pond. The pond is the first of five that were constructed, this one more than twenty years ago.
Stone steps lead from a lower patio, with a step across a part of a pond to the upper patio beside the house. Toad lilies and hostas will continue to grow through spring to fill this area, and soon Ostrich ferns will arch over this path. Several of the stones are local fieldstone, with the lower stones from a Canadian quarry. The lack of continuity in the stone steps does not bother me at all.
This pond, just below the deck, has become partially obscured by a seedling hosta that sprouted in a small island between two waterfalls. The hosta’s roots grow in shallow water and are completely exposed through the winter, with no ill effect. Another small hosta has seeded to the rear in this photo, along with Leatherleaf mahonias that will be weeded out since they will grow too large.
A narrow stream begins beneath this stone slab, then winds past Carol Mackie daphne and sweetbox to a small pond. Three of the garden’s five ponds, including this one, were constructed while my wife was away for long weekends visiting family.
Cinnamon ferns, prostrate plum yews, and Robb’s euphorbia are deer resistant, and grow lush in this dry shade.