Last Saturday, after we left Brent and Becky's Bulbs (and had a fabulous lunch at Olivia's, a restaurant in downtown Gloucester), we headed to Yorktown to visit the garden of Pamela J. Harper, author of many books on gardening and perennials ... her book "Time-Tested Plants" is sitting beside me on the desk right now. Mrs. Harper is an extraordinary gardener, designer, and plantswoman. Everywhere we turned, there were wonderful vignettes with carefully chosen plants.
We began our tour just off the quiet suburban street, at the beginning of the most wonderful driveway. (Get used to the superlatives, because I expect to be using a lot of them.) This view hints at the wonders ahead for us as Mrs. Harper led us through her garden.
This waterfront location, near two rivers, is at least a full zone warmer than my Zone 7A garden in Hartwood. There were flowers blooming in Mrs. Harper's garden the day we visited that would have been killed by our hard freeze up here the night before.
The camellias, in every size, shape and color, were some of the stars of the garden this day. There were huge ones as tall as the trees, in shades of pink and red, in the background. I tried to take a photo to show the effect, but I couldn't get one that was any good.
(Maybe I should have saved this one, with its 'puddle' of fallen petals, for White Wednesday)
The spaces within the garden were divided by paths into beautiful 'rooms'. Everything I read about garden design says that we should be doing this, and I have never seen the concept executed as well as it is in Mrs. Harper's garden.
Everywhere within the garden, we found lovely vignettes and focal points.
I loved her vine-covered potting shed, with Autumn Joy sedum in the foreground.
A bench, made from a fallen tree trunk, sits beside one of the paths.
This was my favorite arrangement ... granite owls arranged on a tree stump, with hosta, ferns, and a concrete leaf.
Mrs. Harper paid careful attention to the smallest details ... like snowdrops planted under a camellia, bathed in fallen petals.
Here are a few of the asters and chrysanthemums.
My very favorite element in this garden were the hardy cyclamens. I loved these so much that I've ordered some seeds to start my own little cyclamen colonies.
Since I'm a rose gardener, and this is mainly a rose blog, I'll leave you with a couple of rose images.
Visiting Mrs. Harper in her garden has given me a new perspective on what I want to accomplish here in my own garden. I hope to be able to implement some of the ideas I saw, and some of the design details I loved, as the gardens here evolve and grow.
(written by Hartwood Roses. Hartwood Roses blog)