A few years ago this client in Dearborn put her garden on the garden cruise we sponsor every year to benefit the Greening of Detroit. If you are not familiar with the Greening of Detroit, in the past 21 years, they have planted thousands of trees, sponsored hundreds of urban farms, and made respect for the environment a mission. Our tour raises money for them. I had been working on her landscape for a good many years, and she was kind enough to agree to share it with others. I am pleased to say that this year, her son Rich and her son-in-law Jason, have agreed to put their gardens on tour.
They are both young people; one landscape I designed and planted only this past summer. Jason’s landscape and garden is entirely of his own design and installation-he goes so far as to grow his own flowers from seed under lights in the winter. The landscapes represent very idividual tastes, and are entirely different. What I like the most about them both is that young people are growing them. I visited CB and her garden while I was in Dearborn checking out the tour gardens. She and I both were struck by how the landscape suddenly seems mature and finished. The landscape is looked after by Melissa and her crew from M and M flowers-her level of maintenance makes every landscape she tends look great.
I have wintered these wax leaf privet single ball topiaries in a greenhouse for the past 8 years. With root pruning in the spring, we have managed to keep them in these glazed French pots for 8 summers. The hydrangeas were originally planted in the front of the house. I moved them here to take advantage of a bigger dose of sun. They seem entirely happy now. Planting a landscape is just the beginning. Some things will not do well. Other things ask for a different spot. Moving things around is part of an garden experience. Most everything thing can be better, if you have patience and resolve. I try to own up to mistakes early on, so the moving is not such an ordeal.
CB’s house is situated on a very steep lot; a deck upstairs spanning the entire barck of the house is her garden in the air. Lots of containers help to create that garden. On the far right, an old wild rosemary that spends winters in a greenhouse supplies the kitvchen. On the left, 3 pots devoted to herbs-mostly basil. To trail in the basil pots, everbearing strawberries.
There are never many strawberries, but the idea of it is enchanting, and the texture of the strawberry leaves is great. Tidal wave petunias, mandevillea and dahlias are thriving in the high heat we have had.
My only addition to the deck was to plan and build a pair of very long planter boxes installed outside the deck rail. This keeps water and debris from the boxes off the deck surface. Lavender, purple and yellow petunias are punctuated every so often with dark red violet potunias. The trailing vinca maculatum will traill almost to the ground by the end of the summer. There is very little maintenance to them.
Several large perennial garden enclose the pool. They have been struglling in recent years; the local deer polulation has exploded. This year, Melissa installed steel post 4 feet tall all the way around the gardens, and strung them with three rows of fishline. The deer have not touched a thing all season. I can hardly believe this is working, but it is. The lollipop Coralburst crabapple pictured is one of a pair that were planted in celebration of her son Rich’s wedding years ago. They have matured beautifully.
On the landing, two lead boxes with green coleus and orange begonias. All of the containers have drip irrigation in them, and they stay in place all winter. The taupe colored terra cotta pots are frostproof terra cotta from Italy. Each pot is elevated on feet, to prevent any water from collecting and freezing underneath. I always enjoy planting these pots, and I enjoyed even more going back and visiting both the garden and my good friend CB.
A small deck off the master bedroom is large enough for a pair of comfortable chairs, and 4 large pots. The branches of some old Norway spruce in the backdround are a reminder of how high up in the air this garden really is.
CB is an accomplished gardener, but today I am thinking about how much she has nurtured that interest in two young people in her family. In my estimation, she has accomplished something very important.