Evolution of a Garden

Evolution of a Garden- 93 West Dunedin Road

Front, PanoramaMy garden was recently featured on a voluntary public tour of gardens in Columbus. One day per month from April to September anyone can submit their garden to be advertised for the tour. I was pleasantly busy with visitors for four hours. Of those who came by, several had seen my garden when it was on the tour 10 years ago. Gardeners are a dedicated bunch.

Front, Cherub gardenTo give visitors some perspective on what I’ve done with the garden, I printed out the following brief history. For this post, I’ve added a few photos of the main features. To view many more, larger photos of the garden from the tour, please go to this link (Garden Photos) and click on “start slideshow” in the top right corner.

Gardening is a duet with nature. I relish each new theme and variations.

I’ve always enjoyed plants: their habits, architectures, flowers, fragrances, leaf shapes and colors. My garden has a strong evergreen structure filled out by a great variety of plants for all seasons, with blooms from February to October. Given the amount of shade provided by two ancient “Chinquapin” Oaks on either side of my house, I rely less on flowers and instead explore whimsical combinations of plants with variegated leaves, whose colors brighten the shadows all summer long.

Front YardFront from Street

When I bought this house in 1990, the front of the property was nicely landscaped, having been done professionally in 1983. Since then, however, I’ve added to or renovated most of it.

Remnants of that original design line the porch, including the glorious 23 year old Miniature Blue Spruce, now 6 feet high and wide. You can see it in the above photo, smack in the center of the house.

Some of the specimen plants I added those first few years have matured nicely. These include the “Purple Fountain” Weeping Beech (pictured in the next photo)Purple Fountain Weeping Beech and a Japanese White Pine by the street, a slow growing “Fernspray” Cypress near the driveway, and the Weeping Japanese Maple next to the Blue Spruce. All of these have been established for 15-17 years.

I recently had a very large Bradford Pear removed from the front yard. (this post Beginnings and Endings contains before and after photos). This tree was shading the yard to death and was susceptible to splitting. Not only have I gained some sun, but now I can see my house from the street!

The newly open and sunny front yard inspired major re-landscaping. However, I tried to reuse plants from the previous shady garden, including hostas, ferns, azaleas and woodland plants. So far they seem fine in half sun.

"blushing" Japanese MapleIn the old Pear’s spot as the centerpiece of the front yard, is an “unlabeled” Japanese Maple, which I found at strader’s Nursery. As I browsed the store for interesting trees, an orange glow called to me from a row of plain, green maples! It has a unique orange “Fall” color at the tips of its branches, I look forward to watching this “blushing tree” mature.

Front bed, with Tiger Eyes SumacsOther newer plants of note in front are a “Silver Cloud” variegated Redbud, a contorted Filbert on a standard, and two “Tiger’s Eye” cutleaf Sumacs, and a “Golden Moon Glow” Japanese Maple. Each offers some ornamental leaf color and/or shape feature to add interest.

Back Yard

In 1990, the backyard had little landscaping. A huge, wooden “Jungle Gym” playhouse took up most of the back. It was surrounded by a sea of pea gravel. The soil was terrible, mostly limestone rubble and clay.

As you can see, much has taken place since then.Back Garden, whole, from roof

I resued some of the materials from the original backyard. For example, the floor of the vine covered gazebo way in back is the recycled platform of that old playhouse, used as it was. The pea gravel has been spread out among the flagstones of the patio and the driveway.

I recently removed a large, overgrown Blue Spruce from the back right corner. Replacing it is a Columnar Red Beech and a Bottlebrush Buckeye. The columnar Beech will eventually tower up to 60 feet, but will never grow wider than 10 feet. Therefore it will never interfere with the powerlines running along the back of the property. The Bottlebruch Buckeye will form a 10 foot mound in the back corner, covering the ugly chainlink fence. It’s summer flowers really look like bottle brushes.

Back, featuring the 3 structure plantsA mature Holly Tree near the garage is an orphan plant which had been discarded by a friend, and which had been chopped off to flatten it. It has come a long way in 16 years.

The tall, slim Hinoki Cypress (in the middle), the Holly Tree (on the left) and the Columnar Beech (in the back right), form the structural triangle of the back yard. The rest of the design is built around these plant bones, along with the “hardscape” elements of patio, gazebo and path.

Enjoy your stay, and please let me know if you have any questions.

7 thoughts on “Evolution of a Garden

  1. I love your garden garnet. Particularly the cobble path that leads to the sitting area. I have always said, this is the one big thing I would like to change about my own back yard.

    I dont like it when the eye takes me to the distance, but the path stops. Its too abrupt. My deck does that. It hovers over a hill, with a stream and bridge at the bottom, but the deck rails say “stop.”

    Someday, I should like to build a spiral staircase, to beckon visitors down to the stream.
    Bidding them to wander and amble, and follow the whispering wind.

  2. What a beautiful house and garden. It all looks incredibly picturesque. How inspiring it must be on sweet Summer days to drink all that in! x

  3. I just love your pictures, and you have done a great job!! I am sending the photos to my friend who is starting a reno on her back yard!

  4. I love the garden! I am currently relandscaping my yard and these pics have given me some great ideas!! Thanks for the post.

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