designs and maintains gardens in the Ottawa area, and like all of
those who work in the field, shrudders when you suggest you would
like to photograph her own garden. "Give me a few days - I haven't
had any time to work on it in the past few weeks". For many, however,
the "neglect" is invisible in the profusion of happy healthy plants.
The garden, which is her little sanctuary, is full of challenges.
While the front of the property enjoys most of the available southern
and western light, the back garden is long, narrow, and is surrounded
by a high cedar hedge on the south, a neighbor's black walnut
on the east and a garage on the north, and her own house on the
west. What she ends up with is a shade garden which has areas
which receive a few hours of direct sunlight, especially in the
weeks surrounding the summer solstice, when the sun is highest
in the sky.
With a very similar micro-environment in our first garden on
Bruyère, I understand both the challenges and the advantages
she faces in designing a garden with these light.
conditions. A wide variety of flowering shrubs, perennials and annuals
do in fact thrive
in such an environment
However, unless you
stress the annuals, you do have accept you largely have a shade
garden and place the greatest emphasis on a plant's leaf colour,
shape and texture. Jan has, I think, been very successful in developing
just such a visually interesting shade garden.
She has used two main "elements" to pull the garden together visually. The first, hardscape in nature is the use of wrought iron and stone; the second, vegetative, is the creation of 'green" walls in nearly every direction. Vines are a narrow garden's best friend - they provide luxurious visual interest, while taking up very little square footage.
The following photographs document Jan's garden in a walking progression from the front yard to the back, and from the entrance gate to the reflective, private space for she and her family at the back of the garden. Each photo is accompanied with additional text.
You can e-mail Jan at email@example.com,
or visit her husband's historic costume web