Friday, July 8, 2011

Beautiful Tapestry: The Garden of Heather Bradley

Gardeners often focus on growing flowers, but great gardens are about more than pretty flowers in bloom.

In her lovely garden, Heather Bradley has woven together a rich tapestry using shape, color and texture. Flowers are not the focus. They are just one of the many elements. 

There is always some color throughout the summer from flowering groundcovers, perennials and varied foliage, but the primary palette is green. Does that make the garden less interesting? No, not in the slightest! If anything the carefully considered and selective palette makes the garden seem tranquil and serene. You literally find yourself slowing down to take in the interesting play of color, texture and shape.

As you will see, the garden is beautifully laid out. Moss covered paths meander throughout. Mature trees form the backdrop and allow just enough sunlight through for the evergreens and a wide range of perennials to flourish. The plantings include Japanese Maples, Brunnera, Jack-in-the-Pulpits, Clematis, Trilliums, hosta and a variety of ferns. 

Let's head right into the back garden and take a walk around.

"Without exception, people say when they walk into the backyard that it is calming and peaceful just like a retreat", says Heather Bradley.

The interesting combination of a lime-coloured hosta and a Japanese Painted Fern

Fresh lime green buds accent this Weeping Hemlock.

A moss-covered pathway leads further into the garden.

Here you see a nice mix of perennials, evergreens and groundcovers including a Dwarf Hinoki False Cypress in the foreground right, a Dwarf Nest Spruce (middle of the back row) and a Cotton Easter (in the back row on the right).

On the left: Pachysandra with European Ginger on the right-hand side. On the right: In the foreground, there are the tiny star-shaped leaves of Sweet Woodruff. On the left, there are the larger leaves of Lady's Mantel. In the background, you can see a Blue Juniper, Juniperus squamata 'Blue Star'. 

Heather's patches of Sweet Woodruff were not in bloom on the day of my visit, but this is what it looks like in bloom. The flowers have a lovely vanilla scent. Sweet Woodruff spreads quickly and so you will want to plant it in an area where its creeping expansion will not be a problem.

The interesting combination of European Ginger top left and a Euonymus 
Japonicus Aureomarginatus in the foreground.

This small mounded planting includes a varied carpet of fragrant thymes.

A dwarf campanula makes for a bright patch of purple.

The tall tree with deep burgundy leaves in the middle foreground right is a weeping Copper Beach. A lacy Japanese Maple and a Mugho Pine make add to this interesting grouping. (They can be seen just in front of the Copper Beach.)

A hosta with a long tapered leaf and a Japanese Ghost Fern.

Stonecrop covers the foreground. On the middle left there is Box, a Japanese 
Maple with a Mugho Pine just behind it. 


  1. What a beautiful shade garden she has. I love the Dwarf Campanula.

  2. I loved this tour, Jennifer. Such a peaceful, beautiful garden!

  3. Oh,my. This is just how I want my back yard to look. Its such a peaceful look. I'm going to bookmark this post, so I can come back and dream. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Piękny, zielony ogród i śliczne rośliny, hosty, paprocie, dzwonki, jasnoty.

  5. Her garden is so beautiful and serene. I would love to sit and have my coffee there in the morning. All the texture and color make it interesting. :)

  6. GORGEOUS!!! filled with texture and shades of green...very calm and serene!!! I would love to hang out in a garden like this!
    Thanks for linking in and sharing your flaunt today!!! I always love seeing all the pretties everyone shares! Have a great weekend friend

  7. Jennifer, this is just beautiful. I had forgotten how lovely a woodland garden can be. I am so into color now but at one time had a very old house in a wooded area so I had to rely on the plants of the woodland. It was always peaceful with that filtered light shining through.


  8. I absolutely love this garden!!! It is everything I hoped my garden to become and more! The differing shades of green and textures read cool and calm. Love it!

  9. What a stunning and beautiful designed garden. Thanks so much for the lovely tour!

  10. A beautiful garden, full of shady green luxury. I love that first photo of the gate and the inviting walkway, it really did make me feel like I was entering the garden with you.

  11. This garden is gorgeous! She must get a lot of moisture to have moss covered paths. I would love to have much less grass in my yard so I could create paths like hers. Thanks for this post and sharing her garden with us. :o)

  12. Her garden is very beautifully laid out, I agree! So lovely. Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos.

  13. Heather's garden is truly stunning and as you remarked, tranquil and serene.
    Thanks for sharing these photos. I enjoyed your post.

  14. Thank Heather for the tour, she has a lovely garden.I found it inspiring.

  15. Terrific garden and pictures. I love the Ferns, I will have to find out the name of the one on your first picture, the one with the tiny leaves.

  16. Love the paths , wonderful garden.

  17. There is just so much good about using forms and textures, as opposed to colour. This garden uses those elements in the very best way. What a delight to see this.

  18. What a beautiful garden! There is something so peaceful and calming about a shady green garden like this. It reminds me of some Japanese gardens I've seen, which I love. Heather has combined textures and different foliage beautifully. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Thanks everyone for your comments. Alistair, unfortunately Heather was uncertain of the name of the fern in the opening shot as she planted it quite some years ago. It certainly is a pretty little fern isn't it. I hope that you are able to find a similar plant in an Aberdeen nursery.

  20. In spite of the heat and getting lost, what a journey this must have been. Truly a photographer's dream!! Your photographs are simply wonderful. I absolutely LOVE the entranceway (#11).

    Have a great day!

  21. wow....WOW! That is one gorgeous garden!!! I am loving the photos...and wish I could wander around and admire all the beautiful plants in person!
    Thank you so much for sharing!!!
    Hugs from my Alberta Gardens...Tootsie/Glenda


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