Last week, I took you on an adventure through an amazing, fanstastical garden. This week, I will lead you through the antithesis of that garden, taking you instead through a garden of serenity and impeccable craftsmanship. The opportunity to view this garden was one of the benefits of attending the PPA conference in Raleigh last week.
As an aside: As the bus drove down the entrance road to the house, I noticed the unusual deer fencing. Instead of being eight feet high, the wood and concrete wire mesh fencing was only four feet high but it was doubled, meaning that it was two fences set only a few feet apart. It is visually beautiful but deters deer by impacting their depth perception.
Stepping down from the bus, my eye went immediately to the front of the house – very simple lines, wooden posts that looked like burnished deadwood, and a blue roof – all foretelling what was yet to be seen.
Directly across from the house is a dry laid stone wall with terracotta containers on top, filled with an assortment of perennials and grasses. Soaring above the wall as a tall, fluffy background was Eupatorium fistulosum (Joe Pye). Not until walking behind the wall, did one find a blue table and wrought iron chairs where one could contemplate the lovely woodland that was accented with blue ceramic pottery and more burnished wooden railings and arches.
Sense of place infused this woodland garden. Although there are many Asian accents, they seem to belong rather than being imposed. The rustic arbor almost seems to be part of the dead branches that have been left on some of the trees. Seating is everywhere so that there is always an opportunity for mediation and/or rest.
The blue roof continues to reappear throughout this large landscape, sometimes on arches that act as doorways to more garden rooms, sometimes as roofs on other buildings sprinkled throughout the gardens.
Great use has been made of fallen trees. Tree trunks have become sculptures as well as tables and chairs. Some railings and bridges look as though they were crafted from fallen trees but I suspect that some of them weren’t, that the resulting creations are, instead, the artistic vision of their creators.
Some of the simplest paths can foster a feeling of serenity. For instance, traversing a path of large stone set in gravel that skirts the back of another building, one continues on the path that cuts through lawn to further woodland rooms. Set into one of these rooms was a hammock on which one could envision laying back and enjoying ultimate peace and quiet.
The best gardens are those that reflect the taste and personality of the owners. I can only surmise that these owners love nature and opportunities for reflection.