Notes from the Garden

By Julie Hawley

My friend Carol is an artist in her gardens. She's the type of gardener who designs gardens using everything from vegetables to containers to hostas to succulents, to annuals and perennials, the list goes on.

This past weekend, Carol and her husband, Dave, hosted their daughter's wedding at their rural home. The gardens there are sprawling along every outbuilding, surround every tree, and even grace a large pergola. Carol and Dave have spent the last thirty plus years tending to their place and the results make it the perfect setting for a beautiful outdoor wedding.

In preparation for the wedding, this spring Carol was able to start her flower pots indoors at a local nursery where she works. She planted them herself using combinations of annuals including coleus, petunias, and New Guinea impatiens. The pots were used to line the aisle for the processional during the ceremony. Carol planted 50 pots for the wedding! 50!

When Carol first started gardening at this place over thirty years ago, she began with hostas. After she realized the wide variety of hostas available, she went a little bonkers. And I mean that in a good way. She has an eye for combining different shades and colors that only a true artist possesses. The hostas are magnificent in both size and color and surround all the large shade trees in the expansive yard.

One of the vegetable gardens there is my favorite. It is planted along a retaining wall and combines tomatoes, basil, chives, basil, Swiss chard, kale and an odd flower or two. Everything is mixed together to produce a texture and form-filled garden. In the barrel at the end are pole beans surrounded by carrots. It looks nothing like a traditional vegetable garden planted in individual rows.

Finally, the pergola. The pergola was built many years ago and Carol's hope was that one day someone would be married there. Indeed, it is a perfect setting for wedding vows, with large vines of wisteria, clematis, and others. Carol is an adventerous gardener, even trying a kiwi vine at one time.

It was the perfect day for an outdoor wedding at Dave and Carol's place. All the years spent designing and creating the beautiful landscape have paid off. The eye of the garden artist was on display for all to admire and enjoy. Thanks.

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