The garden, any garden, should ideally include marvelous plants that must be viewed close up, and hopefully will also include pleasant wider views. From late autumn until mid spring the wider angle in this garden is not filled until perennials break dormancy, but today it’s almost there.
With the largest part of the garden in the back yard and out of public view, this garden was constructed for the pleasure of our family. As our children grew areas in the back were kept in lawn to be used as ball fields and badminton courts, but then the kids grew up and moved out.
The fourteen hundred square foot koi pond was dug not long after the kids departed, first intended as a natural swimming hole stocked with a few fish, but eventually this idea was abandoned as koi multiplied. Frogs and snakes followed, then gardens were added to surround the large pond.
Three ponds were constructed in close proximity just behind the house. The newest of the three (now nearly twenty years old) features a stream lined with moss covered stones. A stone path parallels the stream, with plantings bordering the stream and path in this shaded area at the edge of the forest. Seen in this photo are sweetbox (Sarcococca), aucuba, Japanese Forest grass (Hakonechloa), hostas, and strawberry begonia (Saxifraga stolonifera).
I plead guilty. Once trees leaf in the spring, the front of the house can hardly be seen. It’s a nice house, I think, and I didn’t intend to hide it, but I was compelled to plant and this is what happens after several decades. In this view are a dogwood in bloom, ‘Seriyu’ and ‘Bloodgood’ Japanese maples, and a purple leafed European beech to the far left. The yellow leafed shrub in the center is ‘Ogon’ spirea. The evergreen to the right is a cypress with multiple witches brooms at branch tips.
The path from the driveway to the deck is bordered by a large ‘Dorothy Wycoff’ pieris, hostas, and Ostrich ferns. The bluestone path is slightly tilted to match the grade and is often slick in the shade. The tall boxwood currently requires shearing to keep its tight upright cone shape, the only plant in the garden that is regularly pruned, or else it would obstruct the path.
Boulders retain the upper slope above a circular patio that was constructed with views of the stream and the oldest of the garden’s ponds (below). Basalt steps lead to a second patio (also circular) with a narrow crossing of the third pond. Recently, native ferns and coral bells have been plugged into crevices in the boulder wall.
The oldest pond has been rebuilt a few times over the years as new products promised less maintenance. Now, with five ponds there is no regular monthly maintenance, and while the four smaller ponds are cleaned out once a year, the larger koi pond gets no maintenance. A green leafed ‘Viridis’ Japanese maple arches over the pond, and the patio just above the pond (below).
This circular patio was the first constructed in the rear garden. It is bordered by a vigorous colony of Ostrich ferns, a wide spreading ‘Globosa’ spruce, and ‘Viridis’ Japanese maple. The chairs are relics from years ago, and I would not dare sit in one. I presume that the wooden dowels are rotted, and the only thing keeping them from collapsing is that no one ever sits on this patio that becomes smaller each year with encroaching plants.
The start of the stone path from the circle patio along the stream. The Japanese maple in the container is a seedling from the garden, and probably of no great interest. The path is bordered by seedling geraniums, toad lilies, hostas, strawberry geraniums, and much more. To the left an unseen red, willow leafed Japanese maple overhangs the path, and from the right, a serviceberry (Amelanchier).
The stone patio that borders the koi pond is bordered by a yellow fernspray cypress, a compact hinoki cypress, two Yucca rostrata, and a variety of hostas, geraniums, sedums, and many others.
The koi pond is bordered by an Okame cherry that covers the water in light pink blooms as they fall, several Japanese maples, and oakleaf hydrangea. The edges of the pond are planted with a variety of Japanese irises, though some have been overwhelmed recently by yellow flag iris.