Tickling our Fancy

For the conclusion of her lecture to a small, grateful group at NYBG last November, Page Dickey presented images from ‘gardens that have tickled’ her. Dickey says we all need to be excited by gardens.

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Topping her tickle list is Bunny William’s Pool House, which overlooks her orchard and borders a wood path.  The structure is part garden folly and part Greek-Revival architecture. Its proportions are classical and timeless, while its materials are wonderful and whimsical. The pediment is clad in rough hewn timbers with the bark still attached, and the columns are tree trunks with pinecones used as the column details.

Throughout her property Williams creates moments that are timeless, with sculpture, furniture placement and ornamentation, combined with plant placement. She is a master at it!

Another item on Dickey’s list is what was once Nedda Lockwood’s 100-acre property in Bedford, New York. Today all but 13 acres have been deeded to the local nature conservancy. In this parcel a winding path leads through a grassy meadow planted with apple trees and daffodils and from the house to flower and vegetable gardens.  Behind this orchard and veggie garden is a four-part parterre garden–two diamond shapes and two round using bricks as edging for the beds.

Also included are four iron umbrella tripods that serve as supports for clematis. The tickle here is the fun at seeing rules completely ignored! Rather than the formal garden being close to the house and the planting areas eventually getting more wild as one gets further from the living areas, here you find exactly the reverse!

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Not in Dickey’s lecture, a Greenwich, CT garden that tickled me this  year has been created by the garden designer Robin Kramer. Kramer often employs hedging as an architectonic element in her garden designs.  In this landscape she echoes the pattern of the planters flanking the front doorway of the house in a wonderful little garden room right across from the front door. Kramer successfully uses contrasts of  wildness against static  plantings several places on the property. There is a playful Eiffel Tower trelliage announcing the entrance to the side patio area. The entire design is both glamorous and playful.


About christinedarnelldesignstudio

Christine Darnell Design Studio is a landscape and garden design studio in Chester, CT. Imaginative plant combinations characterize the work with an artist’s eye towards texture and color. A strong commitment to environmentally considerate design runs through the practice, the support of local nurseries, and guidance towards the most environmentally sustainable materials and products. Adjunct Professor, Horticulture Dept. of Naugatuck Valley Community College, Waterbury, CT , Wetlands Commissioner for the Town of Chester, Vice President, APLD, Connecticut Chapter.
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