I visited with Charlsie on Monday for nearly two hours. One of Charlsie's neighbors (Eunice, whom I knew through garden clubs and master gardeners) had told me I really should visit Charlsie's garden as it was so beautiful. Yes indeed. But what I could not understand was just how well planned, incorporated and managed the garden was until I paid it a visit myself. The following is Charlsie's words about her garden.
It was an honor to have been asked to include our flower gardens in the 2008 Master Gardeners' Montgomery County Tour, and such a joy to walk through our gardens with 100 interested guests that beautiful first day of summer, Saturday, June 21.
Having always had an interest in landscaping, we've found terracing to have worked for our extremely sloped and wooded lot. Over the 24 years we have lived here, my husband has built 2-foot-tall rock walls; which cascade down our hillsides. These curved walls have become the foundation for our flower beds, meandering pine needle paths, winding stone walkways, and a rocked, dry creek bed; which crooks down the hillside carrying rainwater. Shade loving trees, shrubs, ground covers, and flowers have been planted throughout our landscape and are accented with birdbaths, bird feeders and benches.
We are surrounded with a beautiful forest of very tall woodland trees and indigenous dogwoods. Ornamental magnolias, Rose of Sharon, and on Japanese maple represent the smaller flowering trees we enjoy nearest our home and in our gardens.Azaleas, rhododendrons, and laurels are examples of the spring blooming shrubbery we prefer. Coolness is added to our shade gardens with the deep green color of transplanted wood ferns, vinca minor, blue liriope, and Francee and Patriot hostas.
We feel that the trees, shrubs and groundcover plantings are conducive to the setting we enjoy and provide a serene backdrop for the color found in the perennial and annual plantings we like to use. In my opinion, the greatest visual impact comes from the cool colors of blue, white and shades of pink found in our gardens. Gorgeous blue mophead hydrangeas and white oak leaf hydrangeas provide us with lasting color throughout the spring and summer. The numerous pink astilbes we use add perennial springtime beauty and interest with their texture and sweet smell. Our favorite annuals to incorporate are pink impatiens and pink begonias; which are planted plentifully and in groupings with white Christmas caladiums, whose bulbs I harvest at the end of the season to replant in late spring.
Colorful potted containers overflowing with white caladiums, various shades of pink impatiens, and English ivy are found throughout our back patio area and accent the stairs leading to the upstairs screened porch. Ivy covered trellises add interest to the patio area, and another porch trellis is the foundation for our 24 year old Sweet Autumn clematis. The clematis tendrils are woven throughout the trellis and upward to the deck railing awaiting its late summer showing of tiny, fragrant white blossoms. Living so near the woods, we are fortunate to also have a treasure of spring blooming wildflowers; which include bountiful bluebells, multitudes of may apples, purple ajuga, lavender woodland phlox and trillium, to name a few. False Solomon's Seal is also found in abundance, with its white, feathery spring blossom turning into golden beads in summer.
While shopping in a garden nursery a few years ago, an elderly gentleman made this comment to me, "I can tell that you are a happy person." I asked how he knew. He then said, "Because you love flowers, and you love gardening. I have found that flower gardeners are always happy people." Yes, I do love flower gardening, and I am most happy when I'm in my cool and colorful shade garden. I hope my husband and I have made our garden setting both beautiful and inviting.
Charlsie, you are indeed a happy person and a super good gardener.
I included many pictures which I hope illustrate how wonderfully planned, cool and beautiful Charlsie's garden on the slope shows.
in the garden....