Sunday, August 24, 2014
I had the opportunity to see several private gardens in various tours of this year's Perennial Plant Association annual meeting. There was plenty of beauty and livable garden space to go around, but one struck me for making so much from such a conventional setting. Louis and Betsy Hillenmeyer live in a typical, albeit up-scale, subdivision. Modest lots of, I would guess about a quarter of an acre looked to be standard. The Hillenmeyers made the most of theirs. Arriving at the house one was taken with the elegant walls, full but uncluttered front garden and the manicured Boston ivy enveloping the house.
A beautifully constructed stone wall with clean and simple ground cover and a row of small trees gave the yard a gardened look without being busy or difficult to maintain.
The carefully crafted Boston ivy looks nice but the owner admitted to biweekly pruning. Unless that pruning gives him pleasure, I think that's too much of a commitment to repetitive handiwork.
Walking around the back yard one discovers a far greater investment in elegance, comfort, livability, and artistic flare than expected. The space between the lot line and the side of the house was small enough that the neighbor's front porch was cheek and jowl with the Hillenmeyer's side yard. To both neighbor's credit each of their side yards complemented the other making a lovely enclosure, especially for the deep low front porch of the neighbor.
The Hillenmeyers, however were far from lacking in elegant outdoor living space.
Off the back porch of the house a nice sense of enclosure was created by the walled-in garage and driveway areas while open views of the garden-encircled back yard also offered a nice sense of openness.
A private and intimate enclosure around an outdoor fireplace offered amazing privacy for the relative density of the housing development.
And this little courtyard by the fireplace is divided to offer almost a forecourt for the trip into the sanctuary. The garden was full of what I would call condensed journeys.