Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Garden Diary: Lines and perspective

Building a long, straight stone wall at the base of the house has created an opportunity for structural interest in my somewhat amorphous wetland garden. Viewed from the path at the western end of the garden, the wall carries the eye across the garden to a group of ragged cedars (Juniperus virginiana) that have become a focal point.

So - what do I do with this "feature"? As soon as I have the financial means, I'd like to hire an arborist to remove the dead lower branches of the cedars, leaving simple, clean verticals topped by evergreen clouds of foliage. I've seen this treatment of cedars at William Faulkner's house in Oxford, Mississippi (see photo below). Once that's done, the area calls out for some focal object, perhaps sculptural, but certainly affordable.

The intervening area is probably the wettest in the garden. While I would like to use structural hedging to order the space and contrast with the wilder plantings, I haven't found appropriate shrubs for such wet conditions. Gardening in this place certainly does impose severe constraints. Some kind of physical structure may be the answer.

I have to remember this is a wet prairie (though an artificial one) and I can't stray too far from that concept.

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