Embryonic Woodland — Starting with the Bones

We’ve planted most of the trees and shrubs that will make up the main structure of the Woodland garden.

First autumn. newly planted woodland

The Pines and Maples will give the shade that defines a woodland.  And eventually, if all works well these will also give their name to the area; it will be a Pine and Maple Woodland.   Redbuds and Dogwoods will form most of the understory layer and give their own softer shade…protecting the  Fothergillas (35 of them) and Oak Leaf Hydrangeas (12).  And these shrubs will lead the eye through the space, their human scale showing the size and form of the Woodland.  And of course they will add their own spring flowering, summer form, and autumn color.  A grove of Birches acts as an entry to the Woodland as well as providing more four-season beauty.

Once these trees and shrubs grow and start to give enough shade, it will be time to plant some of the shade-loving groundcovers that will help define the space: Tiarella, Gingers, Trillium, Solomon’s Seal…masses of each to help keeping you moving through the space.

It is so exciting to see some of the spaces actually taking shape, not just in my mind, but in reality.

Vistas, Inside and Out

As I continue to design the gardens at Timshala, I realize that contrary to my usual practice, which is to work from the house outward, I’ve done more around the perimeter and very little around the house.  And I just realized why.  Until the house was complete, and I could actually experience what the outside looks like from the inside, I could not really visualize it.

The house is an octagon, and there are French doors leading out the garden on every face of the octagon.  The views are complex, fascinating, and – for me at least – almost impossible to imagine.  I can’t even say, as I normally would, “Well this wall faces north so we will use shade plants here…morning sun lights the east wall…afternoon sun for the west well, etc.”  None of the doors or walls or windows are so clear in their orientation.

And then there is the issue of time of day.  How does the property look in the morning?  Afternoon?  Evening?  Even nighttime is interesting because the moon and stars seem so much more vivid here than in the city.

So this is without a doubt the most complex and wonderfully challenging design I have ever created.  There are vistas to be created from so many locations around the garden.  From a ‘clearing’ in the woodland….and a seating area at the edge of the orchard … and patios  from the living room and bedrooms… from  paths leading through the various spaces.  And now…I’m working on the many and varied vistas from the inside.fog timshala 10.23.2014.

Here is one particularly beautiful scene, through the’ back’ door, looking sort of east,  just before dawn, when fog often softens the world.  Some newly planted red leaf birches surround a garden light, their backdrop a distant scene of an adjacent forest.