I received a comment from Rebecca at In Your Garden that got me thinking. I had posted the pictures of my Serviceberry Allee and she had asked how I came up with my design. I answered her comment, but I felt that it needed something more. Julie from My English Country Garden had very cleverly put a map on her blog. It was so helpful, when she was describing a section of her garden, you could look at the diagram and visualize it. So I thought that I would try something similar.
When we purchased our home in May 2006, I was given this.
The lot is 210 x 150 feet.
You can see it is a rough sketch from the architect that was selling the house and the 3/4 of an acre property. She applied to have two 35 foot lots severed off the property, which would have demolished the garage and she would have built a new driveway on the east side. But I wanted it all, or none. It is very difficult to find such a large property in a city (even a small one like Owen Sound). We can walk to the downtown, with a grocery store and a Tim Hortons within 10 minutes, yet we feel like we are in the country. That is in large part to the Niagara Escarpment. You can see in the lower left hand side, it is 40 feet from the edge of our property to the bottom of the Escarpement. This is a high forested hill, that is protected and not to be built on. Thus, we always have privacy (and lots of shade, birds, and squirrels, with the occasional skunk, racoon and fox) from that direction.
Before the house even closed, I had drawn a million plans for the garden. Everywhere I went, everything I read, all my previous gardens had given me tons of ideas for this space. But, I had to be careful, as the teacher of my garden design course I took last fall said, do not make a mini botanical garden! But, I want a mini botanical garden, I want a million different rooms, I love the tropical look, I want a Japanese garden, a parterre, and on and on. He was concerned about future maintenance, and about it looking too busy!
I must confess to having approx 300 gardening books, a good portion of them on design. I love books that tell a gardens story, how the author came up with the features that are in their garden. I started with the classics, Margery Fish “We made a Garden”, all of Beverley Nichols, Vita Sackville-West, especially the diaries of her husband Harold Nicholson, and many, many more. Then I moved onto more modern day, Rosemary Verey, Penelope Hobhouse, Page Dickey and Mary Keen. My current favourites are David Hicks, Sir Roy Strong, Monty Don and Frank Cabot. My most, most favourite is Paul Bangay, a garden designer based in Melbourne, Australia. He designs very strong formal gardens and is brilliant.
I steal ideas from all of them. I have already written about how I stole the name for the Flora Glade here, but I was shameless at stealing so much more.
When you are designing a garden (according to every book that I have read) you are supposed to look out your windows, and design something to look at. Well, that might work for most people, but as you can see from the picture above, the house sits sideways on the lot. Originally the front lawn went all the way down to the next street, and there was a circular drive for the carriages in front, but that has been sold off over the years and now my front door faces my neighbours. The window in the library faces the street, no view there, the bay window in the front parlour faces our neighbours house, there is maybe 20 feet between us, something could be done there, but not anything huge. The only other room downstairs (besides the mud room) is the kitchen. this used to be the former dining room (the mud room was the kitchen) and has two windows facing south with the stove in-between the windows. This is the best view in the house. So I decided this would be my starting point. (Although, this was not the first part of the garden planted, it was the first part of my garden design).
To be continued……