An intimate meditation garden in a gated community.
Sylvia sent me a picture via email the other day. The picture conveyed a message, “you need to come see this.” I grinned and decided that I should take Dekie and the trusty camera to get a look at her yard. Here’s the picture she sent:
Julie Windler had called me about a year ago and said that she wanted to give a John Schulz garden design as a gift for some special clients. I was honored and took the job. Due to construction issues we weren’t able to start on the garden until last August.
I met Randy and Sylvia Eidson who had moved to a small gated community on Pear Street here in Rome, Ga. Randy and Sylvia are gardeners of the first order and had left a rather large yard in Atlanta after retiring. We started work on their new garden in August 2009 and had a good time with it. I also made some wonderful new friends.
The design that we came up with began with a small flagstone patio that was suitable for four seats and a couple of tables. The planting areas were to be raised beds with fieldstone borders that would grace each side of a walkway of flagstone stepping stones. Sylvia asked for a perennial border and was a great help with picking out the varieties of plants that we used. I told her that it would take at least a year for the garden to mature. That’s why I was so excited about the picture that she sent. I walked through the gate and saw this:
The plants seem to have really taken to the compost beds. I enjoyed this mixture of dwarf snapdragons, perennial salvia, and silver mound. In a couple of weeks, this bed will also show the flowers of purple coneflower, blue salvia, and yarrow.
I stood on the patio and took a shot back toward the entrance. Then I let the people in and we sat and talked. The patio is nice in that it is large enough for four people to sit and talk and small enough for the conversation to be quiet and personal.
We had a nice visit talking about the garden and goings on in the community.
One of the topics of discussion was the ”bottle tree” which was made by Stephanie Dwyer of Jackson, Mississippi. I really enjoyed browsing through Stephanie’s website. I get to meet her today at Arts in the Garden at Berry College.
A statement about the bottle tree from Stephanie’s website gives us a bit of information:
“The bottle tree tradition rooted itself in the South in the 1700s, arriving from Africa and flourishing in the fertile ground of the Mississippi Delta even today. Placing colorful bottles on the ends of broken limbs is said to keep evil spirits (or maybe just nosy neighbors) away from the home. As the story goes, the sun’s glimmer through the glass mesmerizes the spirits and traps them in the bottles.” Randy and Sylvia have made a project of collecting just the right bottles and each one has a story. http://www.missmetaldesign.com/
Sylvia enjoys collecting shade perennial wildflowers. Two of her prizes are the ‘celandine poppy’ and the ‘foam flower’.
May 3–The botanical name of ‘foam flower’ is Tiarella cordifolia. Thanks, Marion and Karen.
A collection of hydrangeas has been planted in carefully chosen spots. I made a note that I will have to make another visit when these blooms mature.
The part of the planting that took the most consideration was figuring out just where the sun would be. The location involves dealing with full and partial sun as well as with full shade. Looking at the rear entrance from the patio, we can see a large pot of coleus, ferns, and a dwarf oak leaf hydrangea. The figure to the back of the garden is one of Sylvia’s prized possessions from Japan. Its name is Tanuki. The Tanuki is a traditional Japanese figure which symbolizes fertility, rascality, and jolliness. He is often represented with a bottle of saki in one hand and a promissory note in the other—what does that tell you?
I love attention to detail in the garden. I will leave you with a picture of variegated Solomon’s seal showing off under a table that seems to have been made just for this location.
To see some work by Tom Schulz, roll around in his blogspot here:
I try to put up a new article every Sunday. Stay in touch. Share it with your friends.
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6 thoughts on “An intimate meditation garden in a gated community”
FRIEND JOHN….LONG AGO I KNEW THAT SOME DAY PEOPLE WOULD APPRECIATE YOUR VISIONS OF PLANTS AND SPACES NOW IM ENJOYING SEEING THE FRUITS OF YOUR LABOR THE BOTTLE TREE INTRESTS ME ..I MAY HAVE TI TRY MY OWN VERSION OF ONE..I WILL SEE IF ANY EXISTED DOWN HERE IN COASTAL GEORGIA…..BILL AMOS
Fertility, rascality, and jolliness! Wow! That’s quite the combo.
Oh John, I want to go and sit in that garden! You have made a small, beautiful, perfect respite.
Thanks John. I am most impressed with what I saw. I would love to visit your garden one day. Regards, Jonathan Lee
This is a beautiful garden! Thank you for sharing!