Gardening as Theater
A summer theater’s patrons needed to enjoy the property’s outside during intermission as well as to stroll between the theater & its cabaret-restaurant. Mere “landscaping” wouldn’t put on a sufficient show. Instead, Louis created gardens that were such performers that they soon became as much of an attraction as the shows on stage & at the restaurant.
- A gigantic pergola & walkway was created to connect the cabaret-restaurant (at the back of the photographer) to the theater (out of view at the far right), parking (out of view at the left), and the road & cross-the-street parking (straight ahead). Never-seen-before gardens along the way ensure that each step is exciting.
- Looking towards the cabaret-restaurant, the performance of the long border just doesn't quit! Yellow-leaved 'Persian Queen' geraniums light up one of the dozen hanging baskets along the way.
- It's not often that any garden designer in North America gets to create a mixed border 260 feet long. Shrubs, trees, annuals, vines, & perennials all helped create summer-long excitement.
- Gardening on such big scale requires a certain fearlessness. Here, Louis is dwarfed by the twelve-foot flowerstems of giant hogweed.
- White clematis flows over the top of an old yew clipped into a crescent circling the trunk of a shade tree.
- Huge, fluffy pink spires of astilbe front the blue flowerheads of eryngium.
- First-sized blooms of the giant ornamental artichoke known as a cardoon are so bright they seem to be lighted from within.
- In morning mist, the gardens went toe-to-toe with those of any stately home in England.
- Black hollyhocks are a macabre touch in gardens that needed to be as theatrical as the shows on-stage & at the cabaret.