With about six acres to play with, I feel free to create spaces with so many different kinds of experiences. From open and expansive, to sheltered and comforting, to exuberant or relaxing. We can have places to play; to sit quietly and read; to dine; to enjoy the changing displays of plants for their own sake. There will be vistas to enjoy from inside the house and views back to the house. Stopping places to sit on a comfortable bench.
A great book by William H. Frederick Jr, The Exuberant Garden and the Controlling Hand, gave me the name for this kind of garden. Timshala will be a Stroll Garden. As he says, “The visitor there strolls about …enjoying a series of experiences, primarily aesthetic. The route taken is usually a circuit, with the same view or activity never repeated.”
And so I’ve begun by laying out a schematic plan. Here a woodland walk. Then a grass meadow. A flowering orchard. Pergolas leading from the house to guide the beginning and direction of the stroll. There are walks along the shrub borders that frame and screen one part of the garden from another.
There are some choices as you stroll – forks in the road – that let you choose to walk toward a sudden, sunlit opening or toward the flowering exuberance of a perennial border. The moods change. And of course the seasons change. So one area is designed specifically for colorful winter interest – berries and bark – to be seen from the house. There are trees and shrubs that retain the shape of the gardens, and continue to show the pathways, even in the leafless winter.