I’ve torn up my three-year-old garden. Still it offers beauty. Bold blue delphinium are pushing five-foot stalks upward. At their feet, alyssum pours itself into strawberry plants that pose tiny white flowers and green berries waiting for a break in our cloud cover. Canna unfurl their blood-red leaves. Sedum crawls between the slim trunks of rhododendron bursting with pinks and purples.
My home is on a corner. Across two streets and catty-corner are three of the most beautiful, thoughtful gardens in town. All are filled with glorious color, inviting textures and careful design.
Deborah and James’s is perhaps the most intriguing. Surrounding their little corner lot is a half-high balanced rock wall pointed with draping sedum and crevice tucked succulents parting for bits of planted china, sea glass and all manner of collected artifact. The wall’s base affords calla lily and California poppies sentry positions. Set in a cordovan glazed pot, a majestic miniature Japanese maple obscures the garden’s limits. Passersby hear the music of water slipping from their fountain to the pool of a corner koi pond. Light plays in the garden with visiting butterflies and resident humming birds.
Audree and Jim’s front garden appears natural. It’s a garden of colored spires. Five-foot tall stalks of ivory foxglove, fans of multi-colored lupine, and arm-fulls of royal blue iris sift breezes that dip and rise from golden poppies, silvered rosemary, and bursts of lavender. Only when trying to replicate the ease and flow of their garden’s lines and wash of color did I discover the genius of its design. Like everything about Audree and Jim, their garden is completely unforced, authentic, embracing and lovely. Their years of editing nonsense from their lives and their garden educates and inspires.
Lars’ garden is pure magic, a growing testament to nature and nurture. The backyard is beyond words. The front stops tourists and residents alike. Lar’s foxgloves tower over six feet, white and pink steeples reaching to the boughs of three Kwanza cherry trees. Cobalt Lithodora spills past quadrants of low boxwood. Inside the knee-high hedges are jewel boxes of Purple lupine, coral and scarlet Icelandic poppies, the yellow to gold to orange red hot poker, creamy peonies and white calla lilies that climb chest high. Every inch of Lar’s corner garden holds life, sings beauty and bewitches the senses.
As much as we garden for ourselves, needing the connection to earth in our fingernails, scents of life and floral perfume in our nostrils, we do it to add, or at least work with, the natural beauty our gardens afford our neighborhood and community. My neighborhood’s gardeners graciously, with humility and a ton of hard, manual labor, offer the world the intimate gift of awe.