Garden Edit

Three years ago I had the good fortune to be invited by a Dutch friend to visit her childhood home in Holland and tour some Dutch gardens.

At the top of my list were the gardens of one the twentieth century’s greatest landscape architects, Mein Ruys. Ruys died in 1999, but this being Holland her gardens have been beautifully preserved. Over seventy years on 6.18 acres she created thirty garden rooms. And while I had seen photos of the place nothing prepared me for the beauty of being there. Ruys’s use of strong architectural foundations: hedges and walls and paths – provide contrast to the looser softer plantings; a perfect balance of the controlled and the willful. Nearly twenty years after her death her gardens live on expressing an acute sense of design, her playfulness and daring. The Gardens Of Mien Ruys

Piet Oudolf designed the planting of the Highline in New York and the Laurie Gardens in Chicago. Loving both of these, I was excited to see what he had done at Hummelo, his own garden in the Netherlands. A Wild Idea -The Gardens of Piet Oudolf

Using many native North American meadow perennials and grasses over large prairie like spaces with backdrops of tall hedges, Oudolf has artfully tamed what would otherwise be wild and let what would usually considered tame to take on a haphazard wildness. His gardens are like mysterious memories; summer prairie where the designer/gardener has worked to make his touch lightly visible.

As with any really enriching garden experience this profusion of beauty caused me to reflect on my own garden; specifically what’s not working!
In hindsight three years after that trip, I can see the influence those two gardens have on my own garden.

After returning from the Netherlands I began to viciously edit my fourteen year old garden ripping out overgrown shrubs and exposing huge gaping holes. After this clever burst of gut like certainty the overriding feeling was one of panic! But over the following years I was given or bought perennials to fill those gaps, moved things to different spots and waited. This year, perhaps for the first time, I really like my garden.

As any gardener knows a garden is never static and I will continue to make changes as plants mature, but I am closer now, much closer, to the vision in my head. Watch this space! (More beautiful Dutch Gardens) Dutch gardens


Lily Landini and drumstick alliums mingle in the borders


Nepeta sibirica ( blue) Stachy Hummelo (pink)


Agastache blue forntune


Moon garden Aralia sun king, white cosmos


Moon garden


Echinacea, veronicastrum virginicum, monarda grand parade, crocosmia lucifer


Grass Calamagrostis brachytricha


Garden July 2018


Continue reading

Posted in Design Ideas, Perennials, Photos of Don's Garden, Piet Oudolf's Gardens, The Flowering Border, The Gardens Of Mien Ruys, Variegated Plants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Spring Projects 2018.

Spring is the season of the big clean-up after winter. Weeks are spent cutting back perennials, dividing, transplanting plants, moving plants, shaping shrubs, edging paths, and weeding, Once the initial cleanup is done, I usually begin a few new garden projects which always puts me behind with the weeding. This year was no different. Below are a few of the new additions to the garden.

I have been admiring a bench on Pinterest and decided to copy it. The two benches are for a transition area that is just down from the pond and leads to a new shade garden behind the house. A landscaping friend put me in touch with a local sawmill and I was able to get these rough milled hemlock timbers which are 6’ x 8”x8” costing me $50.00 a bench. My wife helped me with the fine chiseling of the notches that fit the seat timbers into the legs. I like the simple design for its practicalness and it’s sculptural look. They will just get better with time and will eventually turn grey.

The other project we tacticled was the path that leads from the parking area to the front door. It was made of irregular fieldstones which over the years had heaved from frost and had become very treacherous to walk on. I have a pile of large bluestone treads from a fallen down staircase and decided to use some of them to make the new path.  We added some small stones between the large slabs as a decorative element. There are other hardscape projects I have planned but I am not sure they will get done this year.


Hemlock benches in new transition area.


hemlock benches at the bottom of long perennial border.


New bluestone path with Climbing hydrangea.

One of the spring projects was re laying a new bluestone path.

Planting near door.


Posted in Design Ideas, Garden furniture, Stonework | Tagged | 7 Comments