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.

Trees, trees, trees!

Over the years I have become quite knowledgeable about perennials.  Shrubs – I’m not quite so good, but still good.  A deep knowledge of trees has always eluded me.  I’m not sure why but I suspect it’s because most of my experience is in small gardens, and one or two trees is the most I typically do.

Of course I’ve done country gardens.  But they have usually come with their own trees.  My job has been to do some editing, removing some trees from existing, unkempt woodland to make it more accessible, more of a composition, and then adding groundcover, bulbs, perennials, shrubs.  That is, making a wooded lot into more of a garden.

But here at Timshala I’m actually making the woodland.  Most of my plantings are trees.  Large shade trees…understory trees…masses of shrubs.  And I have fallen in love with them.  Someone said to me the other day that I am creating an arboretum.  Well that isn’t quite true. My choices are for beauty, seasonal interest, size and compositional qualities.  An arboretum is a teaching collection, and is usually a ‘collection’ — that is one of everything — rather than a composition.  But I am having the most wonderful time shaping spaces with trees.

Trees have arrived croppedIMG_0258 editToday, this entire semi arrived filled with trees for me.  Huge quantities, some for the woodland, some for specific locations around the house or in the meadow.  I’m now actually seeing some of the vistas I had in mind when I created the design.  Views through a window or door are now framed by trees just as I imagined.