A container planting that appears to float in the corner of a raised deck brings us to the shadier side of Sheila’s personality, and the one that I gravitate to quite naturally!
Many of the properties on this riverside road have a very steep, near vertical incline towards the river, whereas Sheila’s property, as the ensuing photos will show, meanders at a most gentle and leisurely grade, allowing for wonderful naturalistic pockets filled with ferns such as this one!
Oh yes, your eyes do not deceive you! If I counted one beloved Cercis canadensis, I think I counted four! Enough to make the hands shake as I aimed the camera! I have always believed that they could be grown here, they simply need to be an understory and have mildly acidic soil in order to thrive! Sheila makes it look too easy!
A neighboring Aesculus, or Chestnut offers a wonderful contrast in foliage to the Cercis! Never one to really pay attention to trees only because my property does not allow for many, it was a riveting experience looking head and shoulders over my head at the mature canopy that created the magical dappled shade that we walked though!
An incredible amount of effort has gone into a property that Sheila has resided and lovingly tended to for only ten years. The most intimate details, like stone dug and moved so as to be placed next to a piece of statuary of a girl reading [in memory of her Librarian career] in order to create a more naturalistic atmosphere, or the careful selection and placement of this wonderful vase, placed so as not to impinge upon the woodsy feel of the area – everywhere you looked, you could see the pride and love with which Sheila tends her gardens.
I hated to see the visit end – this is a property that I would gladly pitch a tent and become caretaker for the season! So vastly different from the one that I do maintenance in nearby. Walking back up the incline towards the house Sheila divulged her age – a total shock to me! – and stressed upon the notion of ‘gardening for a lifetime!’ With a property of such spellbinding beauty and tranquility, I can imagine Sheila gardening for many many years to come. Thank you ever so much Sheila for the time taken to offer me such a generous and genuine tour of your truly magical property. Sheila will be my very honored guest on the August 20th edition of ‘Through the Garden Gate.’ If you have time, please tune in for 7pm for what I guarantee will be a special interview.
‘I want to be transported somewhere entirely restful once I step out of the back door, The first thing you do when you open the door is breathe out and exhale. The next breath in tastes better for the surroundings. I believe the air is sweeter here for the greenery and that the mood in the garden works to put you in a better frame of mind. It is a place that has its own life and its very own rhythms. I spend more time living outside because the garden draws me out there. It is the first place I go after getting out of bed in the morning and it is the last at the end of the day.’
-- Dan Pearson from ‘Home Ground: Sanctuary in the City’