I love visiting gardens. Not the big, famous gardens necessarily, but those personal gardens filled with flowers the owners cherish. Each one is different, and special based on choice of plants, zone, layout of the land. Judi's is an in-town, shady, lush garden. Ginny's is a small, more formal space at the entrance to her house. Yesterday we spent Mother's Day at our friend Susy's house, and her garden is different from both of theirs, and mine. She lives out in the country on ten acres, yet has neighbors she can see and hear from the top of her hill. Her land used to have an apple orchard, and over the years her late husband mowed walkways, so that now, even as trees have grown up, there is a wonderful path that takes us over many of those ten acres. There are some huge beech trees, but most of the trees are smaller. It felt more like a British "wood" than my "woods." Down closer to the house, there are flowers everywhere. Trillium under a big pine, ground phlox and vinca spilling down a hill, a new, "secret" garden off the deck. There are flowers and herbs all mixed together, just the way I love them, in a "cottage-y" effect. There are surprises around every corner. I was in garden heaven.
As you know, we are on a hill as well, but the garden spaces and plants are quite, quite different. Susy is two or three zones warmer than us (who isn't?!). Our woods are further away from the house itself, and there are lawns and pastures all around. We have more and deeper woods, but they are not so close to the house to protect it much from wind, or to give us that feeling of being a little home in the woods. Susy's woods adjoin the driveway and the edge of the open land to give more of a cozy feeling. There are trees nearby the house which offer shade on a sunny day. Other than our porch, we are pretty much in the sun. I would like to have more spaces of dappled shade and intimacy, but this isn't easy to achieve here. As gardeners, as homeowners, or apartment dwellers, we must live with our surroundings, and grow what does best. Desert plants in arid areas, shady plants in the woods, and strong, hardy plants out in the open. It is a challenge, but a fun one, and this is a joy of gardening; that each garden is individual and perfect in its own way.
Susy walking on the pathTrillium
May Flowers or Bluets