Posted tagged ‘APLD’

Perfect Gardens in Virginia’s Piedmont Area

October 23, 2015

In mid-October, the Association of Professional Landscape Designers held their national design conference here in Washington, DC. In addition to a full day or more of sessions on sustainability in gardens, marketing, design topics and the like, the conference included three full days of visiting gardens, two in the DC suburbs and one in the Piedmont region of Virginia, outside Charlottesville.

I had been involved in helping select the Maryland and northern Virginia gardens conference-goers visited, so I didn’t sign up for those two days. But I was really curious about two gardens scheduled for the Monday ‘Piedmont region’ extension of the conference, and so joined a number of good friends for a day trip to see them.

Our first stop was Mt. Sharon Farm, in Orange, VA. Designed by landscape architect Charles Stick in collaboration with the owners (Mary Lou and Charlie Seilheimer), the garden sits on a hilltop overlooking beautiful vistas that Mrs. Seilheimer described as thinking she is “lucky to come home to” every day.

Association of Professional Landscape Designers, Mt. Sharon Farm, APLD

One of the views from a path at Mt. Sharon Farm.

The garden itself was begun in 2000 but feels as though it has been there for many decades, in part because of the massive boxwoods that help create several ‘rooms’ and which Stick insisted should remain (another landscape architect whom the Seilheimers interviewed recommended removing all the boxwoods on site; he was not hired). Stick designed the garden with the principle in mind that all aspects of it should relate to the surrounding views outward, and it shows, even in spaces like the rose garden and the adjoining boxwood parterres.

Mt. Sharon is probably at its loveliest in the spring, and occasionally has been open to visitors during Virginia’s Garden Week. For more images of it during that time of year, visit Roger Foley’s website or check out his wonderful book, A Clearing in the Woods, which includes a chapter on Mt. Sharon.

After a too-short stay at Mt. Sharon, our bus took us onward to Warrenton, where we visited Marshfield, a 40-acre estate whose 12-acre garden has been designed by C. Colston Burrell. The current owner’s grandmother, Mrs. Samuel Appleton, was a founding member of the Garden Club of America, and so the gardens have been named the Appleton Gardens in her honor. The modest brick house at the top of the drive is tucked in among old oak trees and Japanese maples, but it was Burrell’s magic farther away from the house that drew me and my camera. We had plenty of time here, and ate dinner outside in the outer reaches of the garden. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves, but this was for me the highlight of the trip.

Walter Hood’s Minimalist Garden in the Sky

November 3, 2012

I can truthfully say I’ve never designed a “modernist” or “contemporary” garden. One of the things I enjoyed most about my participation in APLD’s annual conference in the Bay Area this year was the opportunity to see a number of gardens with a modern aesthetic. (Look for the upcoming post on a Bernard Trainor garden in the foothills of the Peninsula area, or the last post on the stunning Tah.Mah.Lah). So I wanted to share with you one of my early favorites from the tours we took.

Described in our e-materials (the conference organizers decided to use an iBook, a terrific idea, to provide us background information on the schedule, gardens, etc.) as “Modern Garden – Commentary on Restraint,” this garden was designed by the eminent landscape architect Walter Hood. Located in the Telegraph Hill area of San Francisco, this garden is on the upper levels of a spectacular private residence whose owner graciously allowed us to traipse up to both the “front” and “back” gardens, even though reaching the back involved walking through the house. I’ve decided to present the photos of this garden as a gallery below. Enjoy.

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