The Garden Bloggers Fling – The Gentling Garden

This is the first part of a series on this garden including Using Retaining Walls and Stonework, Looking a Little Closer, The Storybook Woodland, and The Many Gardens Rolled into One.

There is so much to learn from landscaping on a slope and dealing with an abundance of shade in this garden. As you know, I like to show the long views of a garden first because you cannot get a sense of it unless you see it in context. Too many folks take tight shots of their own gardens and the viewer can never get an idea what the garden entails. After we  see the big picture, then we look a little closer at how plants and ornament support the design. So let’s start our overview tour…

You can get a sense of how steep this garden is as we go down the stairs. Here we go…

You will see more or the shady woods in this series coming up, but have a look at what is growing well in the terraced beds. Take a look at the retaining walls, they are an integral part of this design. They form the structure of the gardens and delineate paths. They have done something properly in this garden often done incorrectly. See how the path is almost a level walking surface, as ensured by the retaining walls. The walls absorb the grade change, and when the path does incline as it enters the natural areas, the wall height adjusts until to disappears into the landscape, keeping the accent very gentle. I can show this in an architectural drawing if you would like.

The stone and shingle architecture suits the site where it is located and that is a very important detail of good design. See the first floor and foundation of the home? It is stone and the walls repeat this gesture of the architecture.

One of the many cutting gardens, you will see more later. See how it is planted to continue the bloom long into summer? Also note here the tall backdrop. Like a hedge, it makes the garden itself a bit more intimate by enclosure. It gives the space structure and presence.

The gardens are all heavily planted with an abundance of textural interest. A combination of groundcover, shrubs, perennials and trees make up the vignette.

More on the pond coming, but these two views give a sense of siting and use of retaining walls.

I know it looks as if I was having a private tour, but I was part of the Garden Bloggers Fling in North Carolina. So here are the peeps…

Everything is big in this garden, especially the trees. The magnificent Redwood, Metasequoia glyptostroboides, anchor the gardens.

The pond is an integral feature, so let us take a few more looks. I just happen to like happy frogs, and this view showcases the frog as I zoom in and out.

Now how can any real frog not think this is froggy paradise? More on him later in the closeup post.

I hope you enjoyed the tour and looked carefully at the design to help you make better plans on your own design. Please stop back for the rest of the series and a bit more on why this garden works.

Added to this post…I wanted to let my readers know that I have been very ill with pneumonia. Since I just got over the flu, I was very prone to further getting sick. I have a condition that makes me very prone to serious complications from any bug I may come in contact.

These posts are prepared, scheduled and auto loading, so you will not be hearing from me in comments or on blogs for a couple of weeks. I will add this message to all auto-loading, scheduled posts in the coming weeks.

I hope you can understand, and I appreciate your comments. I am very sorry that I can not reply or stop in on your posts, as I am bedridden and too sick to be on the computer much more than checking email once a day. I hope you will still keep up with GWGT and the series from the Garden Bloggers Fling.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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20 Responses to The Garden Bloggers Fling – The Gentling Garden

  1. Shirley says:

    First I want to say how sorry I am to hear you are so very ill. Please take care of yourself. This blog is always inspiring and beautiful and we will be here when you recover. Comments and even your readers can wait.

    This is a beautiful garden and I enjoy the way you take us through the process. I agree, so many tight shots make it difficult to understand a blog post and the garden in question.

  2. Donna I am sorry to hear you are so sick…please rest and get well…I know how complications can set in easily as I have a suppressed immune system. I am glad you featured this garden as well…what a gorgeous shade garden with so much texture…my old garden had many different levels and I had to build paths and walls…it was so much fun and added so much interest.

  3. nicole says:

    Donna I will be praying for you. You rest and get well. The post is beautiful Donna. You are so right about the grade of the stone and how it gently takes you through this amazing space. Thank you for sharing this post. It has given me inspiration for my own space. I will be thinking of you and please let us know how you are doing…Nicole

  4. You have my best wishes for a speedy – and steady – recovery!

    As for gardening on a slope I’ve always wanted a sloping garden. I grew up in a garden that dropped perhaps 20ft from the street to the back of the garden, so to me it’s actually challenging to garden on a completely flat piece of land. Still, any piece of land is a blessing, and it sure is easier to cart around a fully loaded wheel barrow on flat ground!

  5. Get well soon Donna! Lovely tips for design.

  6. gauchoman2002 says:

    Best wishes on a full and speedy recovery!!

  7. Astrid says:

    Hi Donna
    So sorry to hear you are bedridden. This is such a lovely time of the year – I hope you have big windows, so you can at least see the trees changing colour.
    The NC garden was stunning, but my poor arthritic knees ached just looking at the steep slopes. The homeowners have done a lovely job using stone steps and walls as well as interesting plant material. Thanks for letting us “tour” with you.
    Sure hope you are better soon.

  8. HolleyGarden says:

    Oh, I hope you get better soon. Pneumonia can be very serious. Take care. This garden is wonderful. Not only a froggy paradise (love the frog!), but also a human paradise. So much to see, and so much to learn from this garden, too. It must have been a delight to walk around.

  9. Mac says:

    So sorry to hear you are unwell. Get well soon!
    Beautiful garden.

  10. Deborah - d.mooncrab says:

    So sorry to hear Donna. Please take care and get well soon. You are missed.

  11. I could so move into a garden even if I had to live in a shack – just loving being close to nature! Loving your photos – happy friday:)

  12. thequeenofseaford says:

    You are the second person who had the flu and then pneumonia. Take care.
    You captured the Gentling garden beautifully. Amazing that you managed to get photos without all of us in each and every one.
    Loved your White Gate Inn photos as well. As we all walked over there, it wasn’t so crowded. I think initially it was just a couple of us (3) until we had been there for a good long time. I love their pond.

  13. So sorry to hear you have pneumonia, Donna. It is a horrible thing to get over (I had it years ago) so I really hope you rest lots and start to feel better soon. I shall be thinking of you x

  14. Graziella says:

    Hi there, its been too long sice i visited, hope you get well soon xx This place is just my kind of thing, lots of hidden places to get lost in and wonder … thanks for sharing

  15. Rebecca says:

    Hoping you are seeing the “light at the end of your tunnel”! Sounds like you are being sensible listening to your body’s need for rest. This garden is stunning. LARGE and FULL, Certainly far beyond my personal reality, but not without my awe and appreciation 🙂

  16. Oh my I pray you get well super fast, you need some home made chicken noodle soup. Can anyone make you some? I am so sorry to hear you are so sick. Get well fast, love all the garden photos. Do you live in the Pacific Northwest? Melody

  17. Andrea says:

    As I’ve been deprived of posting and reading for the past two weeks, i am reading yours backwards. Each of course is very well appreciated and loved. I am amazed that even when you’re sick you are still thinking of the garden chores. This has been posted earlier so i hope you are much better now. Take full rest, body, mind and spirit, and in no time you will be fully back to your recharged self! God bless.

  18. Brian Comeau says:

    Hi Donna, I am so sorry to hear that you haven’t been feeling well. I had pneumonia last year and cracked a rib coughing, so I know it isn’t a lot of fun. I hope you do feel better soon. Will be praying for you here. BTW… I love that first shot.

  19. Just catching up on my blog reading, Donna. Sorry to hear that you’ve been sick. Hope by now that you’re feeling MUCH better! –John

  20. I wish I had a camera that took better photos of landscapes. You really caught some great sweeping views of this garden.

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