by Kathy Hudson
Each day, early and late,
I sit on a chipped brick step,
the lichen-covered bench or chair,
surprised to be here
in this house, in this city.
Ready for fall planting? Perfect timing! This weekend, Grist Mill Landscaping will be open to the public, offering one of the best maple tree and rare plant sale of the year. Stop by between 8am – 5pm to take in the area’s largest selection of Red Maples, Japanese Maples, Sugar Maples as well as other gorgeous unusual plants and trees to make your outdoor living space spectacularly unique. Don’t pass up this opportunity to walk 3+ acres of gorgeous landscape while you’re there. Bob Farmer had created a viewing garden oasis, and offers many ways for you to showcase your new trees. And don’t worry, delivery is available!
Bob Farmer, owner of Gristmill Landscaping, considers more than color, shape and texture when he’s selecting plants for a garden. “Sounds, scents and shadows can really tie a garden together,” he says. The sounds of water in a water feature soothe and add ambiance. Water draws nature to the garden, particularly birds whose calls then fill the garden. The trees that the birds use also contribute sound in the form of the rustling leaves on deciduous trees and the whispering of pines. “Yes,” says Farmer. “Conifers do add sound.”
Later in summer crickets add their symphony. Garden sounds even distract from the cacophony of traffic sounds on busy streets. The combined sounds in a garden help human inhabitants enjoy the space, sit and relax and have moments of reverie and reflection.
“Scent is the most vital of all your senses,” says Farmer. Besides the most obvious scents, Farmer likes the smell of dew on the grass and plants, the smell of rain, even the smell of snow. In summer the smell of cut grass fills a garden after mowing. When planting and weeding, the loamy smell of earth arises.
The smells of all elements – earth, wind, water and fire – are present in the garden if the garden has a fire pit or outdoor fireplace. In three seasons, spring to fall, the sweet smells of daffodils, hyacinths, viburnums, daphne bushes, lilacs, roses, lavender, monarda, lilies (especially ‘Stargazers’) and autumn clematis. “And don’t forget Styrax japonicus,” Farmer says of the elegant, compact tree that blooms in spring.
“Shadows play such a part in the landscape too,” says Farmer. “Morning shadows are different than any other shadows.” First thing in the morning, he explains, the shadows are more intense. With the sun at noon, shadows begin to lengthen. Open plant material further elongates the shadows. “The same plants you plant for texture also create rewarding shadows,” Farmer says giving hinoki cypress as an example. “The whole plant is laced with shadows at any given time, because of the fan-shaped foliage that casts off unusual shadows.”
The day ends with softer light and deeper shadows. “The dark becomes darker, and the light becomes lighter,” says Farmer. He likes white flowers to brighten the garden at dusk, moonflowers especially. Each large white trumpet unfurls in evening and stays open until sunrise. For an added bonus some moonflowers are fragrant.
Sounds, scents and shadows not only tie a garden together, but they also carry through the garden, creating movement and adding sensory dimension to enrich the experience of working in and living with a garden.
1532 Jarrettsville Road | Jarrettsville, MD, 21084 | 410-557-4213
For those who treasure time spent outdoors (particularly in our own backyards), this can either be the best time of year or the worst. Worst, of course, because just as the little crocuses and daffodils start popping their heads out of the ground, here comes yet another snow storm. Right? But on the other hand, spring and summer really are right around the corner, and full of promise and potential. And before you know it, we’ll be lounging on the porch and eating home grown tomatoes by the basketful. I promise. And so it’s right around this time that the demand for talented landscape designers peaks. Particularly those with the (well deserved) reputation of Brenton Landscape Architecture.
If you missed the Spring Maryland Home and Garden Show last weekend, you can still attend this weekend, March 7-9, 2014, at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. Along with the region’s most talented landscapers showcasing 15 vibrant backyard designs and more than 300 expert exhibitors showcasing the latest innovative indoor and outdoor products, services and solutions for homeowners, Orioles’ Head Groundskeeper Nicole McFadyen headlines an all-star line-up of expertly-led seminars and workshops.
To help homeowners (and show attendees!) prepare for a winning season in growing good grass, here are a few expert tips on producing and maintaining grass like a lawn MVP from one of only two female head groundskeepers in Major League Baseball.
This is a big week at Cylburn Arboretum. Located off of Northern Parkway, this green oasis is increasingly enjoyed by both city and county residents. In recent years, the Cylburn Arboretum Association has connected nature with art through exhibitions in the Vollmer Center, programs for adults and children and an artist-in-residence program.
Cylburn’s first artist-in-residence, Patricia Bennett opens her exhibit of paintings done during her past year there. Well-known as an event painter, Bennett has also produced an impressive series of Impressionistic paintings of the gardens. An opening reception takes place Friday, November 1 at 5:30 p.m. The show continues through the weekend, then November 5-7.
A new effort begins Sunday, November 3 at 2 p.m. with the Arboretum’s first book talk and signing. In cooperation with the Ivy Bookshop and Timber Press, author Laura Burchfield will speak and show excerpts from her newly released book American Home Landscapes, A Design Guide to Creating Period Garden Styles.
I’ve been working to replant the gardens around the 1922 Roland Park house where I grew up and live. Not until I saw the Timber Press book did I realize what a period garden we still have. Essential elements of American, Colonial Revival gardens from 1900-1930 include: symmetry, balance and a central axis, geometric beds, a picket fence, old-fashioned flowers.
In Roland Park, fences were originally permitted only in limited form, never in the front yard, because of the Olmsted design principal of low hedges instead of fences. At our house, however, the second owner was granted an exception to the architectural restrictions, because he thought Cold Spring Lane was too busy. If only he could see it now. Boxwoods were used for the front border, but along the sides and back, he installed brick pillars with sections of square, white spindles in between.
No flower garden was in front or along the sides, just more boxwoods and a long lilac border on the east side and privet hedge on the west.
Mt. Vernon has been a refined neighborhood, but now it’s attracting the retail stores to complement its chic style. Earlier this month Charles Luck Stone opened in the historic neighborhood. The store sells good-looking stone products — think sinks, desktops, fireplace mantels — that mix the fashionable with the functional for eye-popping effect.