I am on my way home today and had a wonderful trip garden hopping. I was invited to stay the weekend for Memorial Day festivities at my cousin’s mountain home, but wanted to get home for a little much-needed rest. Vacations are not restful! Plus 7.5 hours of driving… Well, grab your coffee, sit and relax while you tour another section of the Winterthur property ….
This was a very beautiful area of the property called the Quarry Gardens. The space has all the elements working in concert to create a peaceful mood. The elements include the natural rock, the built environment, and the abundance of sequential plantings. The design works on the senses of sight, smell, touch, and sound.
There is a large, rough rock face that drops down to a babbling brook filled with fragrant softscape. The basin is filled with gorgeous, colorful Japanese Primrose at this time of year.
As a designer, I was most impressed at how they used the steep topography and the way the visitor was led through the space.
You can see this garden from a variety of viewing positions. At the end of the curved path, one can descend into the basin and sit stream side amongst the Primrose.
The entrance is gated but there is a very pleasant seating area overlooking the Quarry Garden.
It is overflowing with Primrose and other moisture and woodland loving plants. Bulbs and other plants include those starting in March – snowdrops, snowflakes, crocus, squills, and glory-of-the-snow. When we visited, this area peaked with wild columbines and primrose.
Take note the scale of this garden. See the garden bench?
We climbed down to the water and it was such an intimate feel. You almost felt like being in a storybook land filled with fairies and friendly talking animals.
Color was all around – one was enveloped in color.
A key design element is how one feels in a space. You can feel protected in the darkened glen, but look out onto the grassed expanse into bright light, like the way you are brought into a cathedral. You go from intimate to expansive. One is enclosed by the circulation path designating the space which gives it a more intimate feel.
Scale is important in the planting too with large leafed plants (looks like Ligularia siberica) balancing the delicate primrose.
Plants listed from their database:
- Japanese Primrose, Primula sieboldii, source – Sky Cleft Gardens, American Primrose Society
- Primula japonica (Candelabra Primrose—lavender, red, white) Primula veris (Primrose—light yellow)