The French Garden

Why french you ask? Because it started as a medieval garden, but a visitor from Europe remarked, "You have medieval plants in this garden, but the layout is French!" Viola!

The symmetrical layout, a square defined by walkways and a privet hedge, contains a garden within the garden. The center garden at one time featured a collection of miniature and David Austin roses. However the privet has grown to such an extent that its root system has taken over the rose beds! So we put huge pots of petunias there in the summer.

English Cottage Garden
The color scheme of our front garden is a pallette of pinks, blues & cool reds. The colors shimmers in a delicate balance in the morning & evening light.. The delphiums and lilies are set off by gypsophilia, veronicas, nastursiums, violas, hostas and roses. In the foreground is "The Fairy", a polyantha floribunda rose.

The display begins in early Spring with over 400 tulips blooming along with anemone blanda, chionodoxa, crocuses and fritallaria and finishes in the fall with late blooming hostas, perennial asters, mums and peacock kales.

The Peony Hedges

In the French we created a series of hedges using a cold-resistant privet. Our idea for the terrace garden centered on huge walkways lined with hedges. This time I privets! They are time-consuming to maintain in a sculpted form and the rabbits feast on the trunks during the winter. While traveling in Louisiana we saw an interesting idea at one of the plantation estates, a long hedge of peonies.
What a great idea! No pruning! They are herbaceous so they die back in the winter, reducing the chance of winter kill. They have a beautiful early spring display and lovely autumn color.

We chose three different varieties of pink small and/or single blossom petals. Pink because the hated rose chafers have little interest in them and prefer the white and yellow flowers. We planted 75 peonies for a total of 275 feet of hedge. There are early, middle and late bloomers so we have peonies blooming for over 3 weeks.

The Kitchen Walk

When we lived in downtown Detroit in a 5th story apartment I always dreamed of a colorful walkway from the kitchen to the vegetable garden. We filled the walk with perennials of hot colors-yellows, orange and reds. The lilies are outstanding as they shoot out of yellow loosestrife, bright potentilla, coreopsis and linaria. Spring is just as colorful, the beds are filled with orange and yellow Emperor tulips.

Violas & Vegetables...the raised beds
One of the ways I paid for my garden habit was supplying absolutely perfect violas to Tapwingo, the nationally renowned restaurant for garnish on their beautiful desserts. I grow the violas in the raised-bed vegetable garden. I grow them from seed purchased in the USA and imported from England. I start my seeds in February and plant out in the end of April. Then I start another set in July and I'm picking flowers in September and those plants flower all spring until my new plants are ready.

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