Friday, September 19, 2014

A Secret Garden: The Backyard Fairy Garden

In this, the final post in the series on Carole's garden, we will take a tour of the 
garden at the back of the house. 

There is no obvious fencing here. On the contrary, the forest surrounding backyard slips almost seamlessly into a cultivated space.

Gravel paths, like spokes on a wheel, lead you inside Carole's garden 
and to the raised pond that is at its heart.


One of the unique and distinctive features are the decorative frames which mark off the perimeters of the garden. Carole tells me that the frames were:

"... developed from a reprinted book offered by Lee Valley Tools called 'Beautifying the Home Grounds' that was originally published in 1926. We designed it together and my husband built it. I wanted something to define the edges of the garden and to add some winter structure as well. We started with the higher, larger section at the back as the focal point of the garden. As we came forward, we made the sections smaller with less segments."

Yarrow, Achillea 'Coronation Gold'

The decorative frames also serve as supports for climbers like this Clematis.

Clustered Bellflower, Campanula glomerata (Sorry, Carole wasn't sure of the particular cultivar, but says that this type of Campanula is well-behaved and is not an aggressive spreader.)

Dwarf Purple Bellflower, Campanula

Pink Yarrow, possibly Achillea 'Wonderful Wampee' which is part of the same Tutti Frutti series of Achillea as 'Pomegranate', which you can also see in if you scroll down just a bit further. 'Wonderful Wampee' has soft pink flowers and is a nice, compact plant. Full sun and somewhat poor soil with good drainage. Height: 45-70 cm (18-27 inches) 45-60 cm (18-23 inches). Hardy USDA Zones: 4-9.

Penstemon 'Dark Towers': Height: 60-90 cm, Spread: 45-60 cm. Full sun. Normal, sandy or clay soil are fine. Average to dry conditions. Zones: USDA 3-9

Feather Reed Grass, Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster': is often overused in commercial settings, but is still a wonderful ornamental grass. Soft, feathery green plumes appear mid-summer and mature into wheat-like spikes.  Trim to the ground in early spring. Height:120-150 cm (45-60 inches), Spread: 60-70 cm ( 23-27 inches). USDA Zones: 3-9.

I asked Carole if there was any significance to the fairies in this part of her garden. She replied that there is " real signifigance, other than I like them."

Rose Campion, Lychnis coronaria: is a short lived perennial that re-seeds. The plant has a low mound of soft silver-grey foliage and magenta or white flowers. Full sun and average soil. Height 60-90 cm when in flower. Spread: 40-50 cm. The flowers have no fragrance, but butterflies like them.   Drought tolerant. Zones 3-9. 

Yarrow, Achillea 'Pomegranate': was bred to be a compact, bushy Yarrow. Full sun and somewhat poor soil with good drainage. Remove faded flowers to promote a second flush of blooms. Height: 45-70 cm (18-27 inches) 45-60 cm (18-23 inches). Hardy USDA Zones: 2-9.

Veronica 'Eveline': Height: 45-50 cm, Spread: 30-40 cm. Will tolerate part shade, but blooms much better in full sun. Normal, sandy or clay soil are fine. Moist soil is preferred, but it will tolerate average conditions. Deadhead to encourage repeat flowering. Zones: USDA 4-9

In the foreground on the right:
Euphorbia polychroma 'First Blush': has foliage that is green and white with pink variegation. Full sun and moist, well drained soil. Yellow flowers in spring. Height: 30-45 cm (12-18 inches), Spread: 45-60 cm (18-24 inches). Hardy: USDA Zones 4-9.

Monarda 'Petite Delight': I have this Monarda in my own garden, and despite its tendency to develop powdery mildew mid-summer, it is a really nice plant. Most Monarda are tall, whereas this one is short and compact. (Use this Monarda at the front of a flower border.) The flowers are a pretty shade of mauve. Unlike many taller varieties, which start to become a bit bedraggled as the flowers mature, the flowers on 'Petite Delight' always look attractive. 
Full sun with a bit of light shade in afternoon is ideal. 'Petite Delight' grows in a variety of soil types and likes average to moist conditions. When flowers fade and the foliage gets spotty, cut the plant back to promote fresh growth. Height: 25-30 cm (20-12 inches) Spread: 30-45 cm (12-18 inches). Hardy USDA Zones: 3-9

Yellow Verbascum with red Monarda and yellow Heliopsis daisies in the background.

Catmint, Nepeta x faassenii 'Six Hills Giant': Prefers sun and somewhat dry conditions with good drainage. Height: 90-120 cm (36-48 in), Spread: 60-90 cm (24-36 in) Cut the plant back 2/3 in July to promote fresh growth and more fowers. Hardy USDA zones 3-8.

I hope, with my photographs, I have managed to covey what a pleasure it was to 
spend a bright, summer afternoon in Carole's garden. 

Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. Gorgeous stuff! Love that Penstemon, I'm going to have to keep my eyes peeled at the nurseries for that one! ps the globe bellflower gets outta control out my way. Must love the conditions out here!

  2. Absolutely wonderful...such amazing beauty.

  3. I just pinned several of these photos as they have completely given me inspiration for the new area of my garden that was just created by filling in the pit. She really has such a striking garden...her layers are filled with such hardy perennials and she is bold! Love this Jennifer! You did such a wonderful job photographing her space...thank you for passing on the goodness here! Nicole xo

  4. What a spectacular garden! I can see how you could easily spend a whole afternoon touring this beautiful place. Love the structures her husband built; they add so much to the garden. I'm normally not that crazy about yarrow, but that 'Pomegranate' is such a beautiful shade, I may have to look for this to add to my own garden.

  5. The back garden is just as stunning as the front! There are so many beautiful flowers and all looking so happy. Lots of contrasting foliage as well as so much colour from the flowers. I would be very happy there!

  6. Carole's garden truly is spectacular in every way.
    So much beauty everywhere.
    Thank you for sharing it here, Jennifer.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  7. Oh, I like this garden :-) and the decorative frames are truly lovely, I wish I had a garden big enough to nick that idea! Thanks for all the plant details, very useful, and thanks to Carol too for letting us visit.

  8. That raised pond is wonderful, I really do love this garden with the forest on the background.

  9. What a very attractive garden and so very well maintained! It makes me think of Larkwhistle.

  10. What a charming and delightful portion of the garden this was. So many lovely blooms and the fairies make it extra special.

  11. Wonderful! I'm inspired now to plant some orange annuals beside my blue clip bellflowers! What a striking combo that was. Also, I've never seen bicoloured lychnis before. I wonder if that is a cross polination of the majenta and white ones? I had heard that if you plant them too close to each other, you will get a washed out pink, but never heard about them looking like that. They are very interesting.

    1. I have white and magenta Lychnis. They self seed all the time. Occasionally I will have a plant that is white with streaks of magenta. I think that, as you suggest, the two colors cross pollinate.

  12. You have certainly done this delightful garden justice, a work of art for sure, I bet it's full of fairies!xxx

  13. Totally the sort of garden where I could lose myself for the day and regret having to leave.

  14. Wow! What a spectacular garden! Have a lovely first day of Autumn, Jennifer! :)

  15. amazing clematis! <3

  16. Beyond amazing. The whole property. To have the space to garden this way is, for me, The Dream.

  17. Jennifer, what a treat to walk by the paths in Carol's garden! I love the group of plants that are blooming making colorful spots on the beds.
    Thank you for sharing!

  18. perfection - every plant is flawless!

  19. Fantastic photos, so many ideas here. The garden is really stunning, everything is so well tended and planned. Love the garden structure, I have the book from Lee Valley, just haven't built anything from it. I can see the results are stunning.

  20. Another wonderful tour of the garden, what a magical place!

  21. Hello Jennifer girl
    This would be a dream garden for me ... the raised pond being the heart of it is perfect .. the touches of fairy decoration are beautiful. This truly is a stunning combination of plants and structures.
    Hey .. I am sorry you have been so sick .. I too have been in a terrible state and the garden is looking like I have deserted it ... guilt guilt !
    We have some comfort in the fact it will be sleeping soon ? LOL
    Take Care girl !
    Joy : )
    PS ... love your header picture .. such gorgeous colour and form !

  22. These gardens are so beautiful Jennifer and I am so glad you were able to share them with us. I love to visit your blog and enjoy your wonderful posts. I just became a follower so I don't miss anything. Have a great day!

  23. What a paradise this garden is, and the fairy fountain adds the perfect touch.

  24. Oh my I didn't think there was any more beauty to be seen in this garden but oh boy it is endless.


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