Yard and Garden Inspiration
Walpole Woodworkers gate inspired my two pair of front garden gates, although mine have a somewhat shallower arch and no overhead arbor (the curve is completed by the arched portico over the front door instead). Sketched out pattern on posterboard, and propped up in place to check sizing and radius of arch and then a carpenter from Stock & Hill Landscapes, Inc. constructed and installed the posts and gates. Used black iron hinges and rings and latches from Walpole Woodworkers and painted Pratt & Lambert, Snowflake (2127).
The juxtaposition of natural materials - stone and foliage - in the garden. Love the temporary lyrical looseness of the plant foliage (a reminder of the regular change that comes with seasons) with the permanence and solidity of the stone (some things stay the same or change very slowly). Also, like the stopping points created by the stone walls and the turning of the path behind the wall.
Beautiful layering of garden components: Formal stone walkways made casual by curves, boulders buried deep as though naturally placed, solid shrub and tree framework, with softer elements massed to provide natural appearing foliage and color. There is not a single thing I'd subtract from this garden and the only thing I'd add is myself ;-).
Physocarpus opulifolius 'Center Glow.' Center Glow Ninebark. "Striking newly emerging foliage is bright rosy red with a golden yellow center. Foliage matures to deep burgundy followed by clusters of contrasting white flowers and finally bright red fruit. A great background shrub or informal hedge." 6-8'H and W. Deciduous. (Consider massing in northeast corner in front of cluster of arborvitae or Japanese cypress, when and if leyland cypresses removed.)
Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Goshiki.' Variegated False Holly. "An extremely tough, strikingly variegated evergreen shrub. Goshiki means 'five colored' . . . Cream, pink, orange, yellow, and white appear as attractive spots and swirls that combine together to create an eye-catching display . . . brighten up a shady corner or set it against a background of dark evergreens. . . wonderfully fragrant fall flowers, but this cultivar - at least when young - does not flower. 4'H x 6'W (10'H at maturity). Full sun or light to deep shade.
Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Variegatus.' Variegated False Holly. 8'H x 6'W, slightly larger at full maturity. Full sun or deep shade. Prune early in life to shape. "Tiny, but powerfully fragrant white blossoms in fall." If Leyland Cypresses are removed, consider replacing with cluster of dark evergreen (Arborvitae or Cryptomeria Japonica 'Black Dragon') interplanted with these. Provides holly branches for winter arrangements.
'Magnolia stellata 'Waterlily.' Star Magnolia (Waterlily). Late winter fuzzy buds/early spring long-petaled white blossoms. Very fragrant. Pruned to achieve all-around symmetrical shape, aristocratic branching structure holds its own when leaves have departed. Consider for replacing tree removed in front-garden bed next to white gate (switch sides with Hino Crimson azaleas so as not to block Limelight hydrangea on other side of hedge). Since these do not like ground around them disturbed, consider under-planting long-lived spreading mat-like ground cover that can tolerate full western sun (Arctostaphylos; Ajuga; Rubus; Hedera helix 'Glacier'; Asian Star Jasmine or Variegated Star Jasmine)
Abelia x grandiflora 'Prostrata.' Prostrate White Abelia. Partial to full sun. Regular water until established. "Moderate grower to 18-24" tall, 4-5' wide. Consider in front of taller shrub in on neighbor side of stepping stones in south side garden in front of fence, where Cotoneaster Dammeri was removed.
Rhododendron 'Girard's Crimson.' Evergreen Azalea. "Outstanding selection bred to withstand bitter cold. . . and still flower well on a compact plant . . . in late April to early May rosy-crimson flowers open with a vivid red splotch in the interior. The large single blooms cover the shrub. . . dark green foliage clothes this dense slow grower." Combine with bold silver foliage of Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' or silver spotted leaves of pulmonary, or combine with ferns, epimediums, primrose, or wood anemone. "Compact form also lends itself to use as an informal low hedge." Full sun to light to open shade. 3'Hx4'W.
Magnolia 'Galaxy.' Hybrid Magnolia. 20'Hx10'W, growing larger when mature. Sweetly fragrant, dark reddish-purple-pink blossoms. Narrow upright habit, suitable for small gardens. Neighbor has it just inside gate and on other side of fence, visible from my driveway, planted near silver fir and underplanted with ceanothus.
Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy.' Forest Pansy Redbud. "Beautiful landscape tree valued for its brilliant scarlet-purple color to new foliage, maturing to maroon. Rosy-pink flowers on bare branches bridge the gap between winter and spring." Moderate grower to 20'H x 25'W. (The two I planted in beds at cottage were beautiful until they were savaged by the rare, hurricane-level windstorm which downed many trees on the Long Beach peninsula a few years ago. Slowly recovering, but will need careful shaping to restore former beauty and may have to be removed.)
Cercis canadensis 'Hearts of Gold.' "First known gold-foliaged Cercis. Exceptional native redbud displays a riot of color in early spring as brilliant lavender-purple blooms appear on bare branches. Spring foliage emerges red, maturing to gold; shaded leaves will be green. Large heart-shaped leaves are burn-resistant even in full summer sun. Feature as specimen or mass as an informal hedge." 10'H in 5 years, maturing to 20-25'H, 18'W. Consider in front bed to replace removed Bloodgood maple or place where large dogwood shrub (10' around) was removed from back border.