Design & Decor - Design Ideas

Bounds for glory

By
Laura Langston
Photography by
Paul Bailey

The garden on one side of the fence is hers, the other is his, and they work together beautifully

Linda's talent in the garden is first glimpsed in the generous flower borders on either side of the long curved driveway leading to the house. The north, or right, side of the driveway is fronted by dwarf Korean boxwood and lavender hedging. Along the back is a 75-metre-long emerald cedar hedge (Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd') that acts as a windbreak and tolerates the boggy conditions against the fence, where Japanese irises and marsh marigolds also thrive. Closer to the front where the soil is drier, rhododendrons and rugosa roses mingle with a variety of perennials, including monkshood, astilbe, phlox, daylilies, hardy geraniums, flowering heathers and euphorbia. Also in this area is a 'Sir Charles Lemon' rhododendron, which she says has year-round interest, primarily because of its narrow, cinnamon brown indumentum-fuzzy hairs on the underside of the leaves.

On the south, or left, side of the driveway, Lombardy poplars (Populus nigra 'Italica') tower over a holly hedge, grown from cuttings and underplanted with narcissi and autumn crocuses (Colchicum spp.). Farther along is a moss rose bed that includes 'William Lobb', 'Mme. Hardy' and 'Tuscany Superb', as well as a variety of peonies, hardy geraniums and white 'Joan Senior' daylilies.

Linda's focus is on continuous bloom. The season starts with crocuses, narcissi and bearded irises, followed by peonies and roses for great garden colour until July.

East of the raised vegetable beds at the front of the property 'Félicité et Perpétue' and 'Albertine' roses clamber up either side of an arbour, accompanied by 'Nelly Moser' clematis and accented by a variety of nearby peonies, including 'Red Charm' and 'Top Brass'. Later-blooming perennials include summer-flowering heather, daylilies, chrysanthemums and hardy geraniums. The geraniums have appealing fall colour, which also comes from the foliage of trees, shrubs and extensive plantings of autumn crocuses. "The disadvantage of planting this way is that you never have one huge blast of colour, but you have spots of excellence all the time," she says.

One of the best places to view those "spots of excellence" is from the kitchen window in winter or the outside deck in summer. The elevation allows an unobstructed view south and west to the terrace and the lower gardens, including the wooden gazebo, designed and built by Nick. Linda maintains summer colour by planting annuals in three oblong-shaped beds down from the terrace. She favours colourful, easy-to-grow flowers such as asters, snapdragons, carnations, larkspur and zinnias, sowing the seeds in early spring in the 3.6-by-six-metre glass and aluminum greenhouse, which is southeast of the machine shop and has an east-west orientation for good sun.

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