Extending outward from the barn end of the house, a multitude of flowerbeds are bisected by winding stone paths. Here Elaine has planted ‘F.J. Grootendorst’ roses (which bloom in the fall), daylilies and peonies from her grandmother’s garden. An Ohio buckeye tree (Aesculus glabra) dominates the scene. The plants that take over in the autumn include turtlehead (Chelone obliqua), a collection of grasses, black snakeroot and white Meidiland roses (Rosa alba ‘Meicoublan’). Marcel’s sculpture of two 1.5-metre-tall roosters is an artistic nod to the property’s farming history.
Beyond the flowerbeds, at the far east end of the garden is an arboretum (also known as the sculpture garden), to which Elaine adds more trees yearly. It’s a place to rest on a bench under a collection of maples: ‘Royal Red’ Norway (Acer platanoides ‘Royal Red’), ‘Born’s Gracious’ silver (A. saccharinum ‘Born’s Gracious’) and paperbark (A. griseum), to name a few. This is also a great area to admire more sculptures, including the tops of two Corinthian-style columns. “I ‘planted’ them in the ground so it would look as if most of the column is yet to be excavated,” she explains.
For Elaine, gardening is as much a cerebral exercise as it is a horticultural one. “Rhythm is important in the garden,” she says. “How you move from the road to the fields at the back. Where do people sit? Where are the peekaboos? I want the landscape to look like a painting, with colour and texture.”
Here are some of Elaine Steinberg’s no-fail autumn plants:
- Amur maple (Acer tataricum var. ginnala), Zone 2
- Yarrow (Achillea spp.), Zones 2 to 4
- Black snakeroot (Actaea racemosa syn. Cimicifuga racemosa), Zone 3
- ‘E.C. Buxton’ golden Marguerite (Anthemis tinctoria ‘E.C. Buxton’), Zone 2
- Pink turtlehead (Chelone obliqua), Zone 3
- Hostas, any variety; “You can’t kill them,” says Elaine
- Hydrangeas, especially ‘Burgundy Lace’ and ‘Limelight,’ Zone 4
- Fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides), Zone 6
- Fall-blooming roses, Solo Mio rose (Rosa ‘Poulen002’) in particular, Zone 6