Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Best gardens continued

As we continued our tour of Denise Best's gardens we walked around to the back past very beautiful and lush plants, trees, shrubs and flowers.

Denise led us into the gate on a large patio.

On one side was an herb garden with a very large rosemary bush.

And other spices that Denise uses for cooking.

In the center of the patio is a pergola with a table underneath and an outdoor fan overhead.

Denise said they spend quite a lot of time on the patio and I will admit it was a very pleasant area with the woods behind and beautiful landscape and hardscape all around.

Under the windows were several pots of mint.

One of the dogs seemed interested in the waterfall and pond beneath the patio but I think he was really looking at our club members walking around in the garden.

Below there are many steps and even a sitting area or two.

On one side Denise has planted ferns.

The pretty water feature was below.

While some of us were up on the patio admiring the view.

As we walked down to the bottom level we admired the pond which was one of the only thing the Bests didn't make themselves.

Mike Christie admired the dogwoods on one side and the native azaleas on the other.

 At the back of the property on the right side there is a fire pit with multi-colored chairs all around. This area is a work in progress but Denise hopes to add hostas to this area.

Denise explains about her oak leaf hydrangeas.

And the new area behind the azaleas where she intends make an area with a fountain in the large pots and it also is a work in progress.

Walking back to the front of the garden, we saw Denise's composting area.

 I couldn't help but notice the birdhouse on a tree.

And walking further, the vegetable garden has a gate inspired by Prince Charles' gardens in England.

At the front of the potting shed, a pretty patterned patio.

A large and pretty hydrangea is on a garden corner.

Her vegetable garden contains pretty vegetables planted in a lovely hard scape of brick boxes.

And one of the nicest features are the apple trees espaliers in front of the garden wall.

The tomatoes were very good. Denise asked us to try a ripe one and we did. They were delicious and organic.

As we left the vegetable garden, we saw the pretty potting shed.

And here is a look at the opposite side of the garden.

Denise was very enthusiastic about the perennial garden we came to next.

The flowers here were lush and beautiful.

And I really loved this hydrangea.

This is a caramel coral bell or heuchera.

 More flowers ...

A dahlia.
 Yet another walkway.

With flowers in pots, all around.
 A rain barrel.

 A question about the pond.

And we reluctantly had to say goodbye to Denise and her gardens.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Best's gardens really are the best

A few months ago, when Denise Best spoke for our Crossroads Garden Club Meeting, she invited us to visit her garden.

Later, when I asked if she really wanted us to come and impose on her hospitality, she said a South African never invited someone if they didn't mean it and she would love for us to come and see her garden. We were eager to take her up on that offer.

When we arrived, last Saturday morning we realized that the term garden was incorrect. Denise and her husband Alistair have worked for the last fifteen years on a series of gardens that surround her home. We also saw that her garden was a labor of love because in every corner, there is something beautiful and built with the couples own two hands.

The first garden we saw is actually Alistair's rose garden. His family in England were accomplished in growing roses and the garden is filled with beautiful David Austin roses. It's obviously a labor of love. Denise said that the rain had beaten most of the blooms off, yet there were plenty of beautiful roses to see.

Next to the garage is a miniature peach tree in a pot, a gift from a visiting family member. Mary and Paul are standing nearby.

We first went around to the front of the house. Cindy and Wendy follow Denise to start the tour.

Here a patio aid by hand is a pretty patterned walkway and steps that lead to a path along the front of the house.

We loved the unusual cedars along the front walkway.

 The stairs in front of the house are flanked with pots, filled with shrubs and coleus.

We loved the whimsical flamingos adding color to a bed beside the steps.

Here is a better view of the steps and potted plants--also, Mr. Horseley, one of our club members.

In front of the house were lime coleus and also red and green ones.

Next, a rain garden with ornamental grasses at the top and bottom so that rain filters through the top and is held there to water the plants in the center.

Next to the rain garden is another set of steps made from landscape stones. This is such a simple solution to terrace a sloping area. At the top of the steps, the big pile of mulch recently delivered to the front yard but generally out of sight except for this view.

And on the side of the house, tropical plants grace another walkway.

 Our club members were mesmerized by all the beautifully arranged plants and trees.

I loved it when Denise described all her plants as "she." She loved the shape of this tree and I do, too.

This Japanese maple has seeds that look like angel's wings.

And Denise, a Master Gardener, was so informative and animated while talking about her garden. She was very hospitable and obviously knowledgeable.

Alistair, flanked by the couple's two dogs helps with the tour.

Beside the rain garden is a butterfly garden with a blue gate, a blue fence and a bluebird church. Denise said the trees had grown so tall, giving the butterfly garden too much shade in recent years.

Another path leading to the back of the house was so lush and beautifully landscaped.

I love this area next to a window.

Peaceful and beautiful.

At the back of the house, a chain-link fence is covered by beautiful vines.

And that was just half the tour. More tomorrow.