My mother’s garden

Wordless Wednesday pictures from an August 2012 post. . .

Northern Virginia, August 2011.

Click on any thumbnail below and enjoy.

A formal garden in Italy

The Formal GardenHow lovely.

Just lavender (clipped), box, and Russian sage in September.
Just lavender (clipped), box, and Russian sage — in September.

Until recently, I had somehow missed the blog, Creating my own garden of the Hesperides.  I found it last week, via a picture on Pinterest.

The Formal Garden

I wrote to Christina, who gardens in Lazio, Italy, and asked her if I could share some of her pictures of her “Formal Garden,” which is so beautiful and simple.

The garden in October.
The garden in October.  All photos by Christina.

The garden was laid out and planted in 2008.  The soil is soft volcanic rock, which is fertile and free-draining.  The area usually receives no rain from June through August, and Christina does not irrigate.  In the winter, there is “bitingly cold” wind.

The garden in June.
The garden in June.

The four identical beds are planted with Perovskia (Russian sage), edged with lavender, and accented with boxwood cubes at the corners.  The two beds nearest the house are underplanted with tulip ‘White Dream‘ and allium.

The lavender borders are clipped before September.
The lavender borders are clipped flat later in the season.

Christina also has  large and small island-shaped borders with mixed plantings, many old roses, and a vegetable garden.  Here is how she explains the name of her blog:

The garden of the Hesperides was where Hercules had to go to find the golden apples, references to it  in Italian Renaissace gardens are a symbolic way of comparing the garden to paradise, a way of achieving immortality through hard work. So this garden is, for me, my paradise and certainly the hard work in achieving it will bring its own reward.

The garden after a January snow.
The garden after a January snow.

All photos above ©Christina at Creating my own garden of the Hesperides. Thanks!

How do you define ‘elegance’?
“Simplicity and imagination.”

— from an interview with actress Helen Mirren

Another summer, continued

I thought you might like to see some photos of my parents’ garden in Northern Virginia — the one which surrounds  last week’s “Wordless Wednesday” stepping stone.  I took these pictures last August, before we left for Rwanda.

Tara Dillard often writes in her blog about beautiful landscapes shaped by the “poverty cycle.”   My parents have a deer cycle.

Every summer, the deer pass through the garden, the old Christmas tree field, and the woods — eating and eating.  Their numbers have increased over the garden’s 30-year existence, as farmed and forested lands have been lost to suburban development.

The result is a planting palette dominated by species that deer don’t like:  boxwood, cherry laurels, beautyberry, Miscanthus grass, lamb’s ear, Liriope, Hellebores, Russian sage.

The hollies, Aucuba, Hostas, Viburnums, and Solomon’s seal — which deer do like — are protected, with some success, by lines of nylon filament and and smelly sprays.  The two dogs occasionally rise to a bark and a brief pretend chase, but mostly ignore the passing herds.

My mother misses her old daylily collection, but she also loves watching each year’s crop of fawns.  I think the drifts of silvery grey, lavender, lime, and dark green are peaceful and perfectly set off the gorgeous view of the mountains.

Click on any thumbnail below and enjoy.