Those of you who enjoy my monthly newsletters may recognize this as the entrance to the magical garden of designer Mitch Evans. Mitch has the uncanny ability to create stunning plant combinations with apparent ease. Every corner of this plantaholics paradise is filled with specimen Japanese maples, unusual conifers and "I must have that" perennials. In fact I think he needs a warning on this arbor that all who enter will leave with an extensive shopping list! Yet unlike many avid collectors gardens this isn't a jumble of 'show off' plants. This is a real garden that embraces you as you enter and lingers in the memory long after you leave.
Mitch came home from work recently to find me under a shrub. Really. Not only was he not surprised (not sure if that says more about him or me) he started to tell me the name of the plant I was trying to photograph (which is why I was under the shrub in the first place) and then show me around the spectacular fall display.
As I uploaded the images onto my computer I started to notice that on earlier visits this year I had taken photographs from similar vantage points so thought it would be interesting to see how the garden changed with the seasons. Here are just a few 'then and now' highlights
The Entry Arbor
Never underestimate the importance of first impressions. The opening photo shows this welcoming entrance in fall. Those fiery foliage colors are perfectly set off by the charcoal grey finish of the woodwork.
These two images are from April and July respectively. Notice that even the 'bare bones' spring vignette is brimming with interesting colors, textures and shapes. By July the perennials have filled in and everything looks lush.
The gold foliage of this fuchsia is truly stunning in fall and the bush itself is still festooned with magenta and purple bells.
Even earlier in the year it was eye catching as you can see.
I'd love to try growing these but fear the deer would be lined up waiting to take the first bite!
The Big Picture
Like many amateur photographers/keen gardeners I often forget to look at the BIG picture – I'm so wrapped up in the details! Mitch's garden rewards those who look up, out, around and down. In fact I'm not sure you can take a bad photo in this garden as every turn in the path opens up to reveal yet another perfectly composed scene. The image above is one of my favorites. From the tiny topiaries to the lush pines and layers of colorful deciduous trees this even has the lamp post to suggest an enchanted trip to Narnia.
The moss covered pots and weathered brick path give a sense of permanence – which is actually pretty laughable as Mitch moves his plants around almost as often as I do!
Earlier in the year the scene was still captivating and shows how the clipped topiary adds structure to the otherwise loose plantings. The color contrast may be less in spring than fall but this is a scene that relies more on texture and form. The many shades of green still play a part, however, and are accented by blue hostas and the early bronze growth of several Japanese maples.
Yellow and blue is Mitch's favorite color scheme so it was no surprise to come across this bright combination when I visited in July.
But perhaps the tea-stained hues of the fading flowers appeal more to you? Either way this hydrangea has provided any months of color.
Every visit to this garden leaves me feeling inspired and refreshed. There is always something new to see, some special moment that might have been missed if I didn't take the time to look. This is just a tiny sampling of the fall treasures I found that day.
I wonder if Mitch will notice my footprints in the snow?