I am interrupting the reports of my European adventures to link to a great post on the myriad beautiful paving patterns at Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown, Washington, DC. See for yourself on Jennifer Horn’s blog Planted Cloud, http://www.plantedcloud.com/2010/11/dumbarton-oaks-paving-patterns.html.
Archive for the ‘Paving Details’ Category
Lately I’ve been working on the designs for small gardens—some are pieces of a larger whole, and others are just, well, small. The most important principles that I follow for petite spaces:
- Dividing the area into even smaller “garden rooms” makes the space seem larger. Understandably, clients sometimes have a difficult time buying this concept. But it’s one of the oldest tricks in the book, and it really does work.
- Details are magnified, so each is element must be carefully considered. Of course, this is a recurring theme for me, no matter the size of the garden. Hedge heights, paving details, furnishings—nothing is arbitrary.
This garden on South Main Street in Southampton illustrates the importance and effectiveness of these guidelines. It’s a long, narrow lot—maybe 75’ wide by 150’ long—with an historic house filled nearly to the brim with the owner’s art and antiques. The garden is a charming reflection of the architecture and interiors, if a little fussy for my personal taste.
This summer I toured several gardens in East Hampton, taking advantage of the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program. The best one of the day was that of Margaret Kerr, a sculptor of some renown. Her property is in the “artist” area of East Hampton–way out past the glitz and glamor, just a few doors down from Jackson Pollock’s place. Margaret herself was there, and she was so happy to tell us about the history of her garden and its plants, especially the ones she’d had before the deer ravaged them.
The house is informal with a rambling layout, and nestled in between two wings is the “medieval herb garden,” with a bubbling square pool and unusual, old and historically accurate plant varieties. Espalier apples line the perimeter, and one of Margaret’s hobbies is experimenting with different shapes of espalier.
On axis with the pool is one of her hand-crafted brick prayer rugs. Her daughter was married here, and the sculpture commemorates that day.
These brick prayer rugs, which are based on the designs of Persian and Indian rugs, are located throughout the property, promoting both experience and contemplation of the garden. Here is another one, this time with a bench to sit and think.
The Kerr property is nestled within a cedar forest, and the deer contribute their own artistic perspective with their sculptural “pruning” of the surrounding trees. They have eaten all the lower branches, opening views into the woods. Frankly, I kind of like it; one person’s nuisance is another’s friend.
Ms. Kerr lamented the loss of her daffodils to the deer, but there were a few left here and there. This might be the most beautiful variety I have ever seen, with its painted trumpets. It’s like every aspect of this place is unintentionally and casually artistic!
In the November 2009 issue of The English Garden magazine there was a two-page feature on the importance of paving to the design of a garden. I couldn’t agree more! These are the two photos from the article that I thought most interesting and applicable to US use.