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You ask, I answer! Question: dream garden

Peony Stoney
Oh my gosh. Well, if this isn't the greatest (and most difficult!) question to ask me, I don't know what is. midnightsjane asked me: "what your dream garden would look like if you had all the time and resources needed to create it. What would you include, and what would you leave out?"

WELL. *cracks knuckles* Loads of pics under the cut. :D

So, the Mr. and I have a goal of achieving owning a "section," or 640 acres. So let's play with that. (WHEE!!) This depends on where I live, as well. I want every kind of garden imaginable, but that's not possible. I'm sticking with a generally temperate climate such as I have here in North Texas. (YES, IT IS SO MILDLY TEMPERATE.)

What's important to me in an outdoor space is that I feel relaxed and invigorated. I want to be able to escape, I want to be able to entertain, and I want to be able to eat from my land, as well as decorate my interior with flowers from my garden, but surprise! That's not actually essential for me. If they're growing outside, I'm happy.

You're driving down a private lane in the middle of nowhere (it feels) when you see a thick, tall privacy hedge of evergreen trees. There's a break, which is where you'd turn onto the private drive towards my house. I loved lined drives, especially when the tree canopy is thick and there's just enough of a bend in the road to keep the end from sight.



or



These are both live oaks with wee ferns growing on the trunks. Live oaks make me insanely happy with their long, undulating branches and evergreen nature. (They do drop leaves, just when new leaves push the old ones off, not unlike magnolias, which I happen to loathe.) Those are azaleas at the base in the second pic, and while I do love them, they require a specific oil type. If I couldn't grow them, I'd most likely plant hedges of oak leaf hydrangeas, Japanese painted ferns, or varieties of coleus for a bright splash of color in the shade.

I would NOT use flowering trees here, because the affect of that beautiful color would only last for a few short weeks. Those are best used as specimens, imo.

If I didn't go with the above, I would LOVE to recreate this pathway either as a driveway, or as a hidden walkway somewhere on the property. (Bamboo needs LOTS of space, and it needs to be bordered with impenetrable material. It will go through concrete, if you don't use the clumping variety.)



The curve in the drive opens up to a wide, open expanse where the main house is (yes, there will be multiple buildings, because I want guests to come and stay with me for extended periods!) - and I prefer a modern ranch with lots of windows in this particular fantasy. This is also the only place where I'll have actual turf grass. Not a fan when there are so many other options. (And it would be Buffalo grass so no mowing would be required. Soft, gentle movement with the wind and doesn't require any supplemental watering.)

Isn't that pretty?



I'm a fan of repetition in the garden. When you have a jumble, like most people envision cottage gardens, that gives me a headache and the need to start pulling weeds. Been there, done that. I want swaths of color repeated: a long row of gulf Muhly grasses with their pink fronds waving and low Meadow sage with deeply blue flowers at the base of the grasses. Far more soothing to the eye, and if we're planting 640 acres (lol), let's go with ease, yeah?

Careful cultivation near the house with a simple color palette of 3 choices per season. (Spring: yellow, blue, hot pink. Summer: blue, red, orange. Fall: red, orange, yellow.) Behind the house with easy access to the kitchen would be a vegetable and herb garden, large enough to grow a crop that could be canned. Since kitchen gardens tend to not be attractive (that's not their function) I wouldn't want it to be a focal point near any entertaining areas.

AND OH, WOULD THERE BE ENTERTAINING AREAS. Like this beautiful hilltop pool.



Or this view of some wonderful conifers outside from within a magnificent library. (It won't always be excellent weather, after all.)



I want people to find places to sit with a book, to sit with a glass of wine and a good friend, a place to be outdoors comfortably and feel refreshed by the scent of flowers, the movement of grass or tree branches, the site of butterflies and dragonflies flitting about. Hummingbirds and song birds and all manner of critters at ease in the wide expanse of greenery.

BUT. I would also want hidden places, secret pockets of cultivation that would encourage you to move around and possibly learn something. Places like:

A Death Garden, like the Alnwick Poison Garden. Hemlock, tobacco, mushrooms of ill repute, nightshade, strychnine, chrysanthemums... (Pulverized chrysanthemums are one of the most deadly things on the planet, did you know? NEVER BUY ROTENONE.)

...probably I wouldn't do this, because no one would insure me, but wouldn't that be cool?

A Japanese garden where a natural water source existed. Maples, rockeries, ferns, an homage to Mt. Fuji - of course - and a meditation ring would make my heart sing.

A meadow of nothing but bluebonnets, because I'm Texan through and through.


I would love a patch of nothing but lilies - one variety in a huge chunk, outlined by another variety, etc. etc. I want to SEE each color repeated over and over so that my eye could take it in, then move on to the next variety.

I would want most of the 640 acres untouched - wild trees that Mother Nature planted. I would, of course, help them along, clearing out scrub to help each tree reach its full potential. Winding natural pathways weaving through these areas would have these wonderful, curious little guys scattered here and there to keep you interested.



I'd love to have tucked away a hobbit house, succulents and ferns growing on the roof, a few flowering trees littering their blooms on the path in front, and a tall hedge of wild roses blocking them from view.



(Wouldn't that be the most scrummy place to hole up with a book for the afternoon? Although I wouldn't have the Datura or Cannas nearby. The Datura means tomato hornworm caterpillars - which are fine, I just don't want to SEE them, and Cannas mean grasshoppers. NOPE.)

I want you (me) to really explore, to find the tree house on the other side of the property, the one build into the giant angel oak that stands sentinel near the part of the land where deer poke around, excited to get at some of the swaths of purple cone flower that grow on the sunny side of that particular hill.

There would be a hidden patch of Lady Slipper orchids in the thatch of Spanish oaks. Wild peonies under the live oaks. A sign pointing out to be sure and borrow a pair of boots from the barn if you're going to walk around the mesquite and black locust trees. There would be a lined walkway to the goat pen (I want to raise goats) with gladiolus, black bearded iris and Russian sage lining your trip.

AND THEN YOU WOULD FIND MY GREENHOUSE.

Isn't it beautiful??


Inside would be some amazing finds from around the world that require non-stop warm temperatures, like:
  • King protea

  • Pervy flytraps

  • bird of paradise

  • monkey orchids (omg, LOOK AT THAT, AHAHAHA)

  • flying duck orchids, Kangaroo paw, BANANAS, and who knows what else, that would be the joy!


FLOWERS YOU WOULD NEVER FIND IN MY GARDEN:
Daisies.
Chrysanthemums (unless they were in my Death Garden)
Marigolds
Pansies
Bachelor buttons
Baby's breath
They are boring and overused (imo) and I don't want them taking up precious space.

PLANTS THAT ABSOLUTELY WOULD BE IN MY GARDEN:
tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, peas, beans, bok choy, spinach, kale, garlic, shallots, onions
any and all succulents, especially cressulas and echeverias
apple trees, cherry trees (should I live in a place where they could grow), fig trees
raspberry bushes
strawberry plants
peonies, roses, all manner of sage, a variety of ornamental grasses, irises, lilies
BLUEBONNETS. <3

Walkways would be gravel and Mexican river pebbles with chunks of limestone and granite holding them in place so you can hear that lovely crunch under your heel as you explore.



...this is the most ridiculous post I've ever made, and it probably doesn't answer the question, BUT MY MIND IS AN EXPANSIVE PLACE.



If you made it through that, mazel. :D ION, I want to point you to the original post asking for your questions as well as reminding you that we are still happily taking any and all donations you might be able to give to the writers of HDJM. ALL OF THAT CAN BE FOUND HERE.

Tomorrow's question: 3 defining moments of myself + Derek Hale's thoughts on sweaters. Ha! <3

Comments

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
brunettepet
Dec. 16th, 2013 09:24 pm (UTC)
Lovely photos all! I want hidey holes and a tree lined drive and tons of unexpected yard art. A treehouse wouldn't be remiss either.

I am still smiling at the monkey orchids. Oh, Nature, you're delightful!
stoney321
Dec. 16th, 2013 09:31 pm (UTC)
I would love beautiful pieces of sculpture here and there, as well. I seriously could have gone on and on about all the things I'd love to surround myself with...

AREN'T THOSE ORCHIDS DELIGHTFUL?!?! Flying Duck orchids are hilarious, too.
brunettepet
Dec. 16th, 2013 09:40 pm (UTC)
The Flying Duck Orchids can play with our Monkey Orchids! What would happen with cross pollination? Wizard of Oz Flying Monkey Orchids!
stoney321
Dec. 16th, 2013 10:01 pm (UTC)
Hahaha!
sheafrotherdon
Dec. 16th, 2013 09:24 pm (UTC)
This was gorgeous! I loved the pictures, and I learned something about what grows where and why and what shouldn't. YAY.
stoney321
Dec. 16th, 2013 09:32 pm (UTC)
Oooh, you learned that stuff?! HOORAY! I feel a bit like I just threw images at my screen, lol.

If I lived further north, I would OF COURSE grow lilacs. Oh, beautiful lilacs, how I long to have you...
sheafrotherdon
Dec. 16th, 2013 10:05 pm (UTC)
My across-the-back neighbor cut down his lilac tree last year. That's how I know he is evil.
stoney321
Dec. 16th, 2013 10:11 pm (UTC)
*GROSS SOBBING*
sheafrotherdon
Dec. 16th, 2013 10:13 pm (UTC)
BEE TEE DUBS: have you read Elizabeth Gilbert's new book, The Significance of All Things? It's the story of Alma Whitaker, who was raised as a botanist's daughter, with greenhouses full of plants from all over the world, and eventually she becomes a botanist herself. I think you would dig the plant stuff SO much.
stoney321
Dec. 16th, 2013 10:20 pm (UTC)
Oooh. That has been on my radar, but now it's moving into target range! Thanks for the reminder to get that one!

<3
a2zmom
Dec. 16th, 2013 09:56 pm (UTC)
Love that second photo. Gorgeous. There's actually a thoroughfare in The Bron that has tress like that (I believe its Moshula Parkway, but its been a while, Beautiful to drive through.)

And I covet that greenhouse. Covet, I say.
stoney321
Dec. 16th, 2013 10:04 pm (UTC)
I would seriously live inside in that greenhouse. WOULD LIVE IN IT.
poisontaster
Dec. 16th, 2013 10:50 pm (UTC)
Man, a place like that, YOU'D NEVER BE ABLE TO GET RID OF ME. I will tell stories for room and board! I can cook!
stoney321
Dec. 16th, 2013 11:35 pm (UTC)
I LIKE THIS PLAN. We can make fresh goat cheese together, then branch off to reading corners, then reconvene at giant bonfires at night!
whisperyvoices
Dec. 17th, 2013 02:27 am (UTC)
I hope you realise that I will be moving in to a corner of that 640 acres. I don't take up much space, and I can be very quiet.

This post made my heart sing. It's so ALIVE! BEAUTIFUL! INSPIRING! ENERGIZING!!

[My parents have a little 'garden', but they can never agree on what to plant, so it's all very haphazard. I might come to you for ideas of what to plant in this climate. Our space has so much potential!].
stoney321
Dec. 17th, 2013 03:28 pm (UTC)
Oh, there will be so many corners for you to hide in at my dream home! FEEL FREE TO MOVE IN.

[And yes! I'll do my best to help you in any way I can. <3]
lynnenne
Dec. 17th, 2013 02:27 am (UTC)
I WANT TO LIVE IN YOUR FANTASY GUEST HOUSE. And I want pandas to live in the bamboo!
stoney321
Dec. 17th, 2013 03:29 pm (UTC)
OKAY, YOU CAN TOTALLY DO THAT!!

But OMG, no pandas! THEY WILL EAT MY FACE. /random person afraid of pandas
lynnenne
Dec. 18th, 2013 02:25 pm (UTC)
OK, no pandas. Your face is far too pretty to eat.
midnightsjane
Dec. 17th, 2013 05:25 am (UTC)
Oh, my. I want to come and stay in your garden! I adore the walkway under the bendy oak trees, so gorgeous and inviting. And the field of bluebells! It's all fabulous.
I want the guest house most of all. I would plant many roses in front of it.
Thank you for a wonderful walk through your garden!
stoney321
Dec. 17th, 2013 03:31 pm (UTC)
YOU ABSOLUTELY CAN COME. And let me tell you, I have about another 2K words on this and fifteen more images, but I am trying this new thing where I exercise restraint. LOL!

Isn't that greenhouse amazing?! It's the most beautiful (and yet functional) greenhouse I've ever seen. It TOTALLY looks like a guest house! As long as you don't mind schvitzing from the humidity, you can stay in there as long as you'd like. :D

Thank YOU for this amazing question!!
midnightsjane
Dec. 18th, 2013 04:12 am (UTC)
My pleasure! I love seeing the way gardens evolve and reflect the people who create them. I had a wonderful trip to England a few years ago which included visits to some of the Great Houses like Chatsworth House. It had some spectacular gardens, and included some of the most amazing statues; I took pictures:
have a look!
entrenous88
Dec. 17th, 2013 03:22 pm (UTC)
How lovely with all these gorgeous pictures and your passion for trees and flowers and other cool growing things! I am going to sidle up to you with a plate of cookies and ask for gardening advice in late winter/early spring; it's something I've never had a chance to do, and even late in the game I still want to try, so I'd love to sit at your feet and get some garden-y pearls of wisdom!
stoney321
Dec. 17th, 2013 03:32 pm (UTC)
You may ALWAYS ask me gardening questions, m'dear! Anything for you. Wait, let's take an Oliver Twist tone. I'd do any-fing for you, dear, any-fing!
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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