On a cold, rainy Monday in April Jim Childs and Jack Coyier flew in from Iowa where they work for Garden Gate magazine. http://www.gardengatemagazine.com They came to Baltimore to photograph gardens. Monday afternoon we toured Roland Park, Guilford and Homeland. I introduced them to a handful of the areas’ finest private gardens, as well as to Sherwood Gardens.
The weather on the Monday afternoon of the tour was bone chilling. The gardens were heartening and easily visible against a slate-grey backdrop. Over the last 13 years I’ve become a garden writer. I’ve worked primarily for local publications. Nothing is more inspiring than seeing what beauty people create in the landscape, from small plots in Baltimore City parks to grand Baltimore County estates.
Monday’s tour fell someplace in between. Most properties, save Sherwood Gardens and a couple of residences, had under an acre of land. Some included steep hillsides more suitable for mountain goats than gardeners.
Others were unassuming rectangular plots turned into horticultural paradises or transformed from houses with only foundation plantings.
Several had been overgrown, old gardens and had been refurbished with carefully selected new plantings.
One included a meditative labyrinth made out of clipped yew bushes.
Another had a natural looking swimming pool (unimaginable on a cold day) as focal point.
Roses, lilacs and tree peonies blooming together here in April were no surprise to these pros from Iowa. The same has happened there this spring.
Delicate, Japanese cutleaf maples stood out on a grey afternoon. Each garden seemed to have at least one of these compact, lacey trees. I’ve always wanted to find for one in our old garden. Now I am even more determined.
Ditto a small water feature.
Now I am even more appreciative of the photographers who’ve always made my writing look good. I’ve travelled occasionally with Celia Pearson, as she has done her magic. With her I’ve always termed almost interminable, late evening sessions: Zen and the art of garden photography. It is an art. The light has to play just right to create the magic. The photographer’s patience must be endless. The visual acumen of the professional photographer is head and shoulders above anything my point-and-shoot, plant-documenting photos could accomplish.
Still, I hope these photos capture for the armchair, Internet visitor a glimpse of some artistic plants and garden juxtapositions.