Saturday, December 15, 2007

December Garden of the Month

My choice for December's Garden of the Month is this garden in Colony Estates near Exit 8 in the Rossview area. For the record, I would like to say I do not drive around looking for special gardens. The few gardens I have featured so far are gardens I have found in my ordinary travels. I spotted this garden when a fellow freecycler (Susan) gave me a ton of Red Hot Pokers. Susan lives on this road so Jimmy and I both had the opportunity to spot this garden. He liked it as much as I did. We thought this neighborhood was a very nice neighborhood and enjoyed our visit to it and with Susan. That visit was back in June and I am just now able to spotlight the garden. This blog has given me a forum to spotlight gardens I think are special and while not everyone will agree with my choices, you will all agree they are special gardens.

As you can see from the front picture this garden is unique and grabs your attention. It is a garden entirely of topiary, which is something I love, though I don't have any in my garden (as yet). The garden's one constant is that it is all unified. There is not one or two topiary plants, but nearly ALL of them are topiaried. It is important gardens be unified in order for them to seem cohesive. Another benefit of this garden is the fact that seasonal changes do not affect it much. Evergreens are constant year round so this garden shines even in the winter and is a perfect choice for this month's Garden of the Month. This garden matches both the house and the homeowner.

The homeowner (Puok) loves her garden and has a special connection to it. I was fortunate she was home when I came by to take a few pictures. I woke her up but she did not seem to mind at all. Puok told me she spends up to 1.5 hours on some bushes and loves trimming them. During the daylight hours residents of this neighborhood are likely to see her in the garden trimming her very artistic creations.

As I have said, I do not have any topiaried trees or shrubs in my yard but I know from watching others and reading about the art form, it is not easy to topiary trees. One wrong cut can ruin the tree for quite awhile. Fortunately, trees will grow back (kind of like bad haircuts-it grows back) and be none the worse for the wear.

You have to have a good eye to masterfully sculpt and shape trees into such intricate shapes. All of these are in fluid forms and shapes, I did not see any animal topiary so it is clear Puok has a certain style she likes and follows. She has consistently maintained that style throughout her yard. While the herbaceous perennials were not blooming, evidence of them was all over the garden so I know she has good color during the growing season to compliment her evergreens.

Sadly, Puok, like the rest of us, lost a bunch of evergreens. She plans to replant come spring but she will be starting from scratch as it takes a lot of time to shape and sculpt these plants.

I enjoyed this garden immensely and really like how the house is married to the yard and one feels comfortable visiting this house because the plants are not overwhelming but are welcoming, warm and inviting. Thanks Puok for letting me visit your garden. If you all are in the Colony Estates area stop by and say hi to Puok and see her garden. She strikes me as the type of gardener who would love talking to other gardeners and has a real connection to her garden and life!

in the garden....


  1. It is very pretty and a lot of work. And you sure are right about one wrong slip. My hat goes off to the lady. She does a great job.! Love ya

  2. Hi Guys,
    I have one I tried to do a spiral on, was looking at it out at the busstop the other day. Filled back in nicely. Think I'll put christmas lights on it just so I won't touch it again. Looks easy! but you have to have a real talent for it.

  3. Hey guys,
    We are finally getting in the Christmas spirit. At last! The tree is up and we have done some shopping. Yeah! Last year we really didn't because of work around the house.

    I love this garden and keep thinking of where I can do some topiary. I have some alberta spruces but I just don't think it will fit in with my cottagy garden. Not sure. It is really hard to not get the bug and want to try it!

    How is the weather up there? I am beginning to feel like a duck down here as we have had so much rain! and it is still raining! It is beginning to flood in areas. I guess it is better to have rain than snow:)

  4. Cold, we got some more snow on thurs, about 5 '', and we are going to get alot tom. Jack of all trades and I hung doors and curtians today, amazing how that changes a room. Later

  5. Like Dawn said, cold is the word. We only got a couple of inches on Thurs so may get clobbered tomorrow, or today, since I am being bad and up late tonight. But I guess I can sleep in as there is no Imus on the weekends. But this sure has been a crazy Dec. Like the old days. I think this will be the first white Christmas in years. I don't like it anymore but I do like it with the Christmas light. It is postcard pretty. Love ya both.

  6. Hi Tina, this is a very neat yard and pretty even in the Winter! Lots of hard work tho.

    I have one that my Husband trimmed up, it is more on the bonsai look.

  7. Hi Mom and Hi Nina!
    Good morning! It is a cold morning here too mom. But no snow! I bet it will be a pretty Christmas with some snow!

    Nina, I am glad you like the yard. Does hubby like trimming you all's bush? Does he like topiary? I really want one in my yard. I hope your dad is doing well and ready for Christmas! We are getting there.

  8. Hi Tina, and good morning to you
    We are getting clobbered here but the wind is not blowing like they said. At least not yet so that is a good thing. It really is very pretty from the warm house. Glad I do not have to go out. But I got a call yesterday about a job so I may take it but just part time. It is right here in town so no real traveling. Only about 3 miles away. Neils Point Road. A millionair on the water with a huge house. He is 90 but still drives, swims and runs. In fact he broke a WORLD record in swimming last week. For his age group, but he has many records in track and swim. Love ya

  9. Hi Tina, Thanks for asking about my Dad, he is hanging in, his breathing is getting a little more difficult, but he is mentally alert.

    My husband shaped the evergreen but I am the one that keeps it trimmed. We were re-doing the foundation plantings several years ago, replacing everything with holly bushes (tired of bag worms)and he suggested that he shape this evergreen. I agreed for him to do it if he would cut it down if I didn't like it when it was finished. It kinda grew on me!

    Haven't gotten into the decorating mode as yet, but I must get motivated!

  10. I love this garden Tina!
    My hats go off to Puok.
    It looks like a lot of time and patience goes into her evergreens!

  11. Hey Mom,
    Good luck on the job! He sounds like an amazing man to still be swimming at 90 years old! I just heard on the news Dan Fogarty died in Maine today. So sad. Does he live close to you?

    Hi Nina,
    Your bush sounds cool! Is it a holly? I am so glad you mentioned bagworms. Those are awful bugs and it is a shame we have to not plant their favorite foods just be rid of them. They are worse than Japanese beetles.

    I am glad your dad is ok this time of year and it is great he is mentally alert. Maybe decorating will cheer him and you up? Not much time left:~ Gotta get on the ball. We finally decorated our tree this weekend so I shouldn't talk. Decorating is hard work.

    It is a cool garden isn't it? Think the Saint would approve of topiary? We know he doesn't like bowling balls. wah wah.:)

  12. Tina, Since you mention the bowling balls, have you seen the Jan/Feb 2008 issue of Backyard Living? There is an article on adorable Ladybug's and Bumblebee's made from bowling balls. Actually I would like to try making one!!

  13. Saint would not like the topiarys as they would be too much work. He does not like too much work. Bad for his spirit! LOL...

    Ah, the bowling ball topic comes up again. LOL I still find them funny. Our old ones are still in the storage closet collecting dust...

  14. Hey Guys,
    I saw the Backyard Living and I love those ladybugs and bees! I would like to make some too! If you want some bowling balls and want to make some I have plenty of bowling balls and am willing to share! My friend Geri just got three for her daughter to work on over the Christmas. Just email me. I think a whole row of the bees would be nice-just need to find a spot for them.

    Skeeter-don't get those bowling balls out as they would not be good for the Saint's spirit either!

  15. Tina, may take you up on the bowling ball offer. I think one would be all I would want to make. Hoping we can get together in the Spring. Thanks

  16. I am looking forward to it and will save you a bowling ball! We need to get a bunch of gardeners together for a workshop and do them all together. My sister and mother won't be able to come but I bet there are a few gardeners/mothers who will want to make some whimsy characters:)

  17. Does Backyard living have a web sight for me to see the lady bugs and bee bowling balls... would love to check them out....

  18. Here is their website: I am pretty sure it will show the bowling ball critters on it though I didn't check. Skeeter, I think the Saint might let you get by with one as you can't tell it is a bowling ball at all! You could probably improve upon the design as creative as you are. I have plenty of bowling balls and I seem to remember you saying you have some too gathering dust? hmmmm

  19. Yes, the website shows the bumblebee and gives instructions with a material list. Everyone check it out-good activity for kids and grandchildren and gardeners (and maybe Saints:))