Garden Diary - May 2022

If you have any comments, observations, or questions about what you read here, remember you can always Contact Me

All content included on this site such as text, graphics and images is protected by U.S and international copyright law.
The compilation of all content on this site is the exclusive property of the site copyright holder.


Garden Conservancy Open Days
Anita Shearan Garden
Sunday, 8 May 2022

A description by the owner of their garden: "We were encouraged to participate in the Open Days program to illustrate the potential of a small garden. Originally it was intended to only fence the back and plant deer proof plants at the front but this was unsuccessful. After much deliberation two years ago we decided to fence the front also and install a cattle grid. This is a half-acre garden in the center of a village on a very narrow lot. We have been planting here for five years. The garden was designed to have structure from evergreen hedges and a hornbeam allée providing year-round interest. There are mass plantings of bulbs that flower in the spring. As the year progresses, the emphasis is on the structure of the garden punctuated by large colorful planters on the terrace. Everything on the property is new with the exception of three old boxwoods that we relocated and a large tree in the front."

While overcast and somewhat chilly, at least it is not steadily raining as it was on Saturday. Pre-registration required by the Garden Conservancy. We're are advised to park at the church up the street. I'm checked in by himself, at a table set just on the house side

of a massive cattle guard across the driveway. Today there is,
is a wooden walkway with fake grass, for easier crossing over.

The large tree to the right is original on the property. The front entry and
steps at the rear are diamond plate, also called tread plate or floor plate,
an interesting choice for a residential property. Boxwoods add structure
to the planting beds, with daffodils and hellebore superbly in bloom. Vinca

provides a lavender accent. Later in the year it acts as an evergreen carpet.

The garden designer used hedges to create geometry. Belgian block looks

very ornamental. Also practical, it allows vehicles to be driven to the rear
of the property while leaving the thick, lush green grass quite unharmed.

Hornbeam, likely the European Carpinus betulus, makes wonderful hedges.
Anita likes the hornbeams even more when bare in winter because they add
structure when so much else is not showing. The hornbeams are a fastigiate
cultivar and even so, are shaped, topped and trimmed / pruned twice a year.

To give you a better idea, here are two images that I've taken at the New York Botanical Garden.
The first is of a hornbean, bare in March, while the other is of its first pruning, in May.

There is a second building on the property, at the rear. It acts as a focal point
for the hornbeam allée. , Anita says "The Amish who built it came so very early,
at 5:00 a.m. in the morning!" They built the shell of the building, but not interior.

Wonderful color is provided by several large willow wicker planters with
lily flowered tulips in peak display. Bulbs bought online from Scheepers or
Van Engelen in Bantam, Connecticut ("sister" companies. It just depends
on quantities, how many of which cultivars you order.) Lovely combination!

To recap: An English couple had a garden designer's help in creating this 5 year old garden. There is outside help for garden maintenance. Designed primarily for spring bloom, a pair of hornbeam allée add structure year round as do evergreens such as boxwood. Deer fence and cattle guard protect and keep things safe from deer, while a neighbors three cats control the rabbits. This is the first year the garden has participated in the Garden Conservancy's Open Days program.

I'm looking forward to a return visit next spring.

Back to Top

Back to May

Back to the main Diary Page