Next, at a two-story house sited well off Walnut Road northwest of town, garden elves were cheerfully ignoring the deluge to add last-minute plants along the driveway. The home owner told me that five weddings had been held in her backyard. Her garden had lots of paths, some through the woods. And there were ferns everywhere, and herb and sedum gardens.
When I arrived at a house high on two acres on Craig Road, I couldn't take my eyes off the gorgeous tricolor beech on the island in the circular driveway. Behind the house, the expansive backyard sloped away from the patio, providing a distant vista of woods and hills. The English home owner, who does all her own design and planting, told me that five years ago her backyard had been "an overgrown field." Surveying what she had accomplished, I felt stunned and humbled.
My ultimate moment of gardening inspiration that day came in an in-town garden on the corner of Third and Mosley, across from Wurster Park. The simple brick house on a sloping corner lot reminded me of a Rennie Mackintosh design. A multilevel backyard flowed seamlessly from the house, as if both had been designed together. A lovely small, weathered barn was the perfect garden prop. The subtle waterfall made me think again of Mackintosh. Flashes of purple were everywhere. My eyes hurt with pleasure.
When I arrived home, I called up friends, telling them to not miss the next day's garden walk.