Xanadu 3: First Season in the Garden
In the year or two after the initial planting season, the herbaceous & annual components of the overall plant palette rocket to maturity. Shrubs & trees take years more—sometimes decades. Nonetheless, even at this early stage, the eventual balance of plant growth to hardscape layout is finally suggested.
- The activity areas of the project—the swimming pool and accompanying terraces, the cutting, berry, and vegetable gardens, and the grassy rectangle—are within the high-fence enclosure. The fence achieves mandated security enclosure for the pool while also keeping browsers and (via an underground portion) burrowers out of the garden. Outside, young whips of the orchard will take years to mature. Immediately inside this length of the enclosure, a summer hedge of the huge, native, cup-plant daisy ensures warm-season privacy.
- Seen from within the enclosure, with the young orchard immediately outside, to the right. Warm-weather separation of the gardens from the unusually close neighboring house—whose roof and chimney are just peeking out at the right—was paramount. (Remember that the property isn't occupied fall and winter, and is overseen by a caretaker who, conveniently, lives in that very house.
- Now looking in the other direction, up through the beds of the cutting garden. The barrier hedge of cup-plant daisies is at the left, and the remarkable meshed berry folly is straight ahead. Up the hill, the houses of three more abutting properties: This "Xanadu" needed to screen out all the neighboring properties, and find its paradise entirely within. Horticultural screening that was high enough to hide houses that were, themselves, up a hill, will take a decade and more to mature into effectiveness.
- The berry folly with its doors at last mounted. It is seen from across the pool (whose protective cover is in place). Beds of maximally-vivid and textural shrubs, perennials, and ornamental grasses separates the pool from the berry folly. Looking closely, you can see a section of the lengthy curved walkway between the beds and the folly. To the right, it originates up the hill at the main house; to the left, it sweeps through the grass rectangle to terminate in a hidden circular patio in the pink-friendly garden outside the enclosure.
- Within the berry folly, the young berry and grape vines are barely in evidence. They will become massive—and fruitful!
- Looking through the front door of the berry folly, across the swimming pool and up to the dining terrace fronting the poolhouse. In either direction, this vista from poolhouse to berry folly is stunning.
- To the side of the poolhouse is the large square bed planted with a trio of weeping beeches. In decades to come, the beeches will extend outward extravagantly. The bed of hostas now roasting in full sun be cast into dense shade, as will the entire dining terrace at the front of the poolhouse, out of view at the left. In the distance, the huge shade structure (whose top beams are the height of the first-floor beams of the house).
- The high south-facing facade of the garage is a comparatively sheltered suntrap. Behind the grey-leaved "rosemary" willows is a quartet of evergreen southern magnolias. They are rarely seen (and tricky to establish) this far north. This cultivar—Bracken's Brown Beauty—in this sheltered-in-Winter, roasting-in-Summer setting, are extremely happy: To keep them in bounds In years hence, they have needed a massive "coat-racking" pruning more than once.
- Now looking straight up one side of the vegetable garden.
- Looking on one arm of the pathway from the main house (up the hill behind me) to the poolhouse and jewelry studio. The other arm of this pathway, out of sight at the right, curves down between the berry folly and the swimming pool, which are intentionally hidden by the massive plantings at center right. The roof of the shade structure is just barely visible.
- An original garden shed has been repositioned on the slope up the hill to the main house. The young large-leaved shrubs at the front are bottlebrush buckeye. In the years since this shot, they have grown high enough to hide the shed completely.