Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Garden Over Twenty Years in the Making (Part 1)




In my area, the garden tour season kicks off with the annual Canadian Cancer Society Tour in late May. Not only does the tour support a worthy cause, it is a wonderful opportunity to see local gardens in all their late spring splendour.

Today I want to share with you a garden that was a standout on last year's tour.

The lot runs wide to the road and so it was hard to get everything in a single shot. 
This is a view of the central portion of the front garden.

In the beginning, Liz Maliki inherited a builder's beige front garden with a few rather nondescript planting beds and some basic hardscaping. What she really wanted was a garden with interesting sight lines, texture, color and a full four seasons of interest. 

To determine a new layout for her garden, Liz stood at the front of the house in the dead of winter, when there are less visual distractions from foliage and flowers, and devised her plan. 

The lot she had to work with was a wide rectangle that sloped gently down to the road. Though the plantings were initially unspectacular, Liz was lucky to have inherited some mature trees including some pines and a red maple. In her new design, Liz incorporated a sweeping series of curved flowerbeds, a fresh mix of plants, and new pathway leading to the entrance to the house.

Let's take a look at this pretty garden over twenty years in the making and still evolving to this day:


Everywhere you look there are beautiful combinations of color and texture. Even when there is little in 
bloom, this planting bed will still be colorful.


Here we are looking at the same bed as in the previous shot, but this time from the opposite angle. The pink flower in the middle foreground is the Tree Peony in the next shot.


Tree Peony


A closer look at that mix of perennials and shrubs including hosta, blue and golden colored evergreens, a maroon colored Barberry bush, a golden colored Heuchera (to the left of the Barberry) and Zebra grass (middle foreground).


Most of the planting beds can be viewed from both sides and a variety of perspectives. The plantings are not stepped in the traditional way: shorter perennials in front, intermediate and then taller perennials at the back. Instead, Liz has made a point of keeping sight lines visually appealing by varying plant heights like notes in a musical score.

A few of the perennials in this bed are hightlighted below: a mix of Heuchera (top right), Hosta (left)
the unexpected use of Chives (lower left) and a creamy yellow Tree Peony (lower right).




Hostas aren't ordinary when you combine a bright, lime-colored cultivar, a deeply-ribbed, solid green one and bookend them with two variegated varieties. 

What I think Liz has created here is visual music. The busier variegation of the Euonymous is like the lively notes of a violin singing above the deep, mellow notes of a chello or base, which in this case, are the big-leafed hostas.


This is the walkway leading to the front door. On the left, boxwood frames a flowerbed filled with Rhododendrons, Euonymus, a Korean Lilac (on the left edge of the picture). 


And this is a portion of the flowerbed on the opposite side of the front walkway.


Two final pictures of the front walkway. That is a pink Weigela cascading down 
into the picture frame on the right.


In this detail shot, Liz has planted a combination of Hosta, Heather (lower left) pink Azalea 
and a Spirea (lower right corner).


In the next post, we will head into the back garden.

More Information and Links:

Here are all the details you need to know to attend this year's Canadian Cancer Society Tour.
I am going to link this post with the Garden Party at Fishtailcottage 
and to Fertilizer Friday at Tootsie Time.

38 comments:

  1. What a stunning garden. The different hostas are beautiful. This is poetry. Looking forward to your next post.

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  2. Fabulous! Love ALL of it! Thanks for the tour :)

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  3. What a beautifully planted garden and so well-cared for. There really are some very talented gardeners about.

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  4. First of all : your blue Scilla header is just gorgeous!
    This is a well cared for front garden with bautiful textures and different colours of leaves.

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  5. Absolutely beautiful!! Wonderful colors and contrasts. You are so lucky to have these tours in your area. I'm going to check the internet to see if there are any tours like this here. I love seeing different gardens!

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  6. Those hostas are gorgeous - I've given up trying to plant them here as the slugs always enjoy them before I do! You have a beautiful garden x

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  7. Just gorgeous, and fabulous foliage interest. Love the walk to the front door! I like that she determined the layout in the winter, when things were dormant. Great idea.

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  8. I love the chives. I'm growing from tall gomphrena from seed this year, but now I wonder why I didn't just plant some chives instead. They look quite similar, and they're edible!

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  9. This is really beyond beautiful, Jennifer.
    You can easily see all of the love that went into the creation of this.
    Thank you so much for sharing.

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  10. Thanks for the tour: the wonderful flowers!

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  11. What a gorgeous property, Jennifer! The owner is an artist and a designer as well as a gardener. Incredible combinations, especially the different hostas together as well as the hostas with the evergreens. Excellent pairings.
    Can hardly wait to see the backyard...

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  12. Fabulous! I hope my garden matures half as nicely someday. I love the mix of hostas & evergreens. Wondering how I can incorporate that here. It's so nice to just see some blooms & green after all the "white" we keep having. One of these days it will happen tho, right?! Can't wait to start garden touring too!

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  13. This is the BEST garden I have seen in a lonnnnnng time! Boy! This could not have come at a better time! It has inspired me to the core! I just can not wait for the day when my garden fills in...wish I lived closer because I would love to take some serious notes and study every beautiful detail! Thank you for sharing this friend! Wow! You are so right about the textures and colors...just goes to show how safe I have been playing it and what happens when you color outside the lines! Inspiring and beautiful photos as always!!!

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  14. Such an inspiring garden, she certainly knows how to put plants together to their best advantage, a true tapestry of colour shape and texture and that's just the foliage!

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  15. I quickly saw your post last night, but wanted to take the time to take it all in. What a stunning garden!! I love the boxwood hedge (will be back to show my husband), love the zebra grass against the hostas in the first shots. Can't wait to see the backyard!! This is the best garden I've seen in a long time too!

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  16. Hosta are a very prominent and beautiful part of the design of this garden. I want to know all their names :-).

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  17. My favorite gardens are designed using foliage texture, form and color. Beautiful!

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  18. How very gorgeous and beautiful! :-)

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  19. Breathtaking... what an inspiring garden! I just love all that fabulous foliage in there. Thanks for sharing!

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  20. Looking forward to the back yard...an amazing garden that gives me hope that in 20 years my garden will be a showcase...well it already is for my critters.

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  21. One of those lifetime gardens that I wished I was closer to, what a treat.

    Jen

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  22. The tour garden is beautiful! Love your urn of pansies too.

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  23. Hi Jennifer, your pansies are indeed very pretty. I enjoyed this garden very much with its blend of foliage and a few flowers, lovely.

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  24. This really is a pretty garden, surely a labor of love. I would love to see the garden tour, but I will most likely still be out of town on the 26th. It is for a good cause too. Your photos are beautiful, Jen.

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  25. What a beautiful achievement. That walkway to front door is masterful work. Opening images are proof the orange purple combo is one of the best. Blessings to you.

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  26. Wow, that is some garden and I like your description that it is visual music. Don't you just love garden tours? I always come home with ideas and plants for my wish list. (like I need any more!)
    Judith

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  27. Oh, how beautiful. It makes me feel better when you say it was many years in the making. I retire in 5 weeks (yay!) and I hope my garden will be beautiful all year long when I have all the time in the world to putter away.

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  28. I was there last year! The back garden is even more stunning :)

    Sue
    xo

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  29. Such accomplished use of foliage and texture! There seems to be a fine balance of excitement and calm in the planting - I suppose that's what makes it "visual music" (a fab phrase!) I can't wait to see more!

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  30. Jennifer, I'm convinced you live in an area with the most beautiful gardens! If I were walking up to Liz's front door, it would take me a long time--no matter my purpose, I'd have to stop and admire this spectacular view. She has combined foliage and texture in such an artistic way. It's encouraging to know this has been 20 years in the making...I still have time to perfect my own garden:) Looking forward to seeing the back garden!

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  31. Oh my goodness! This garden is utterly enchanting and it's amazing to think it was built from scratch. I don't know where to start in terms of commenting as I absolutely LOVED it all. You do get to see so many fantastic gardens, you've inspited me to start looking around the gardens in my neighbourhood.xxxx

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  32. Lovely! So many different colors and textures, and they flow together so well!

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  33. Jennifer,
    wonderful garden tour! I love combination of colors and always try to follow it. But sometimes the plant dies and need to plant another one on this place.
    Thank you for sharing!

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  34. Wow! Your new magnolia banner, then the vivid orange and purple pansies (I think they are pansies) then the lovely front garden....what a nice early May read! I just love how the featured garden played up leaf textures, shapes and colours. You can see the hours of TLC and patience! Great photos as usual.

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  35. I think your comparison of the garden to visual music is perfect. What a clever lady. Her gorgeous garden shows off her talent and insight. I love the way she uses her hostas. Quite smart!

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  36. Right away that gold juniper combined with hosta and a blue spruce? jumped out at me. Then you did a close up shot - thank you! I have an old gold juniper and I have wondered about some of the plants near it. This was the perfect answer to my questions about what to pair it with.

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  37. What an inspirational garden! Thank you for sharing your lovely photos.

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