We turned down a driveway and came to a large clearing in the woods surrounded by meadow covered hills currently full of foxglove flowers and parked in the large grassy parking lot and walked through a red gate.
Calycanthus, one of several varieties on the property, was large and impressive.
At various points along the path descending into the next levels, there are areas to "pause and reflect." That's fancy talk for to catch your breath and look at the pretty stuff.
This area is graced by one of the several pieces in the garden by island artist Clare Dohna whose work I've admired since first seeing it at DIG years ago. Ms Dohna's own garden is also spectacular. See more here.
Dogwood in bloom. So pretty.
Cardiocrinum preparing to bloom, peonies at it's feet. The way cardiocrinums bolt so quickly always makes me think of Jack and the Beanstock!
This part of the garden is on a fairly steep hill. I'd never seen stairs quite like these before.
They just keep going and going.
With more areas to pause and reflect.
That's Alison walking behind the climbing hydrangea.
The larger path on the other side is a little more gradual.
Every step of the way is graced with great plants like this Stipa gigantea.
Further down we begin to hear the gurgle of water and the incredible pond comes into view.
The boulder outcropping fits the space so well it seems like it might have been an existing natural element. Truth is, it's only been there for five years.
The water is not flowing in some sort of roaring waterfall but rather a nice melodic trickle.
The plants are beautifully grown and expertly chosen to fit spaces. There are times when this garden almost feels like it just sprung up this way. (There must be a really great staff here!)
Now we're at the pond level. The water is crystal clear and has a lovely teal color. There are not plants or fish here and I'm wondering if this is strictly ornamental or if the owners enjoy swimming here.
Here's that guy that's been following us around. He was really impressed with the pond!
Here's Alison again admiring the island.
Yup, the pond has an island off on one side. Look at all of the gorgeous foliage. Rhododendron's leaf shape and indumentum contrasts beautifully with the color and needles of the conifer on the right.
I fell instantly in love with this rusty metal circle. One passes through this magic portal/star gate/moon gate to continue down to the next level where the houses and large perennial borders are.
Geranium palmatum on the right putting on quite a show.
Here we are on the next level.
Another Dohna mosaic.
Wonderful and huge bench near the front door.
Sign in the midst of the sunny perennial borders area.
Expanse of lawn flanked by wonderful plantings. That's the bay in the background.
Allium, clematis, peonies, delphiniums, and oriental poppies are the stars of the floral show right now. Hakonechloa is used liberally in this area of the garden. and why not? It's a gorgeous grass!
Peony and a lovely sarracenia duo.
Whimsically painted play house or perhaps garden tool storage.
On this level there are lovely views of the bay below.
And paths leading down to the beach. We didn't explore these as they aren't mentioned on the map but others did go down to the lowest level of the property.
Breathtaking Azara microphylla variegata! I'm so glad that I put a couple of these in my shade garden. I wonder if mine will ever be this big and beautiful?
Round the other side of the house looking toward the guest house and garage.
Wood storage area with more perennial fabulousness.
Sculpture installation of girls playing or dancing.
Clematis arbor leads to a seating area with brightly painted Adirondack chairs.
And a lovely view of the bay.
Hakonechloa "waterfall." So well done!
wonderful shade plants with nice unobtrusive labeling!
Another large outdoor sculpture.
Hot pink heated up with gold foliage or cooled down with purple foliage. Beautiful either way so why not both?
You guessed it Clare Dohna!
Looking back up the path at the moon gate.
We walked the driveway back up to the top of the garden and saw this potting shed.
Which looks to have been a temple at one time. So lovely and unexpected. The doors are intricately carved!
And here we are at the red gate again.
There was a gentle continuity about this garden. Area flowed into area and while there were stunning features, they appeared organically and didn't seem to be imposed upon the space. This is a garden whose design seems to have been considered as a whole and the placement of new elements done in an unobtrusive way. While this is quite a grand garden, which is beautifully maintained, there seemed to be a feeling of ease and hospitality about it. Although the map was handy so that nothing was missed, the garden itself seemed to beckon the visitor to follow paths in certain directions. I was not left asking questions about why certain things were done as they were because the answer was clear: Because it's beautiful and it makes sense.
Be sure to check out Bonney Lassie's post about this garden here.
Here's a power point tour of the garden last year from Youtube. Interesting to notice the changes!