Three bluestone terraces Stone steps with hostas and lambs ear Mountain garden with view of pond and house Blue irises Lilypads and reflections in the pond Cleome and summersweet
“In a single gram of earth there is an astounding number of small organisms; among other things 30,000 protozoa, 50,000 algae, 400,000 fungae and 2.5 million bacteria.” Arne Naess (in explaining why I do not use any –icides.)

Case Study:

A Garden in the Mountains

Goal: To transform a weedy slope and incorporate edibles.

This private, dreamy spot with a view of the mountains and an half acre pond had attractive giant bluestone slab ramps accessing the pond but needed garden spaces for people to inhabit. A sunny, weed filled slope was unusable in its current state.

Bluestone terraces create a tiered landscape

The landscape design transformed the weedy slope into a three tiered garden reorganized by dry-laid bluestone retaining walls. The very bottom garden bed was full of clay and muck; water drained down into this bed. A line of Hummingbird Summersweet shrubs (Clethra alnifolia 'Hummingird') was planted in this bed because they enjoy moist “feet.” The shrubs bloom all of July with a sweet scent, attracting pollinators of all types. Twenty Munstead lavender (Lavandula angustifolia 'Munstead') shrubs were installed in the hot and dry middle level bed. We mulched with peagravel instead of wood mulch in order to provide the lavender with as much heat and drainage as possible. The lavenders absolutely love it! The top tier bed is a mixture of purple and white flowering perennials beginning with wisteria, chives and foxglove and ending with anise hyssop, monkshood and nepeta. Several 'Anne' ever-bearing golden raspberries are scattered throughout the bed. The center tiered garden is hugged on either side by beds of nearly 400 daylilies (Hemerocallis) in various shades of cream. An arbor is anchored with native Dutchman's Pipe vine (Aristolochia macrophylla) and two hardy grape vines.

Berries and peaches on 'Blueberry Hill'

During initial installation, the homeowner requested a Blueberry Hill alongside the pond so we created another hillside garden with a mixture of blueberry shrubs accented with Sedum sexangulare, hosta, daylilies and lambs ear groundcovers and a rambling field stone walkway. Three Reliance Peach trees (Prunus persica 'Reliance') are planted at the crest of Blueberry Hill.

Aquatic plants bring beauty to the pond

Pond plantings include hardy water lilies (Nymphaea), Iris versicolor, lizards' tail (Saururus cernus), pickerel weed (Ponditeria cordata), water plantain (Alisma plantago aquatica) and arrow arum (Peltandra virginica). Pond edge plantings consist of Bowle's Golden Sedge, Acorus graminens 'Ogon', Iris versicolor, rose mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos 'Lord Baltimore', cup plant (Sylphium), and fox sedges (Carex vulpinoidea).

Other garden areas include a bed adjacent to the driveway and house foundation plantings which incorporate perennials and shrubs used in the main tiered garden in order to create cohesion throughout the landscape.

leaf pattern