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Report From An Opinionated Gardener – December 30

Dividing a property into a series of “garden rooms” offers many advantages. Smaller properties will appear larger and big landscapes are made more intimate. Different spaces allow the gardener to experiment with assorted plant and color combinations and still have that area look unified and complete.

Garden rooms are a logical way to deal with different growing conditions (full sun, deep shade) and to create spaces that create a mood and invite people into conversation or rest.

Some landscapes almost automatically and understandably divide themselves into rooms, while others need to be approached thoughtfully, with both appearance and function in mind.

As I look out at my winter landscape, garden rooms are on my mind. Poison Ivy Acres is one of those properties that don’t easily suggest divisions since it is a long, thin, slanting piece of land. The separations are still evolving, with the flow of the gardens being largely determined by our need to grow particular plants (vegetables, dahlias) and the existing vegetation.

Blending division, order and interest so that small areas work individually and with the whole is an ongoing process, whether we’re creating a garden room, a relationship, a business or a life.

Right now, the “room” I’m creating is a blend of family, friends, healing, writing, and pondering the flow of our landscape from the indoors.

Some areas divide themselves automatically. The area at the bottom of this photo is between the stone wall and the entry to the house. It very naturally became The Entry Garden. The space between the two walls and the fence around the vegetable garden is really a passage way...the lower part is still being filled with perennials and dwarf evergreens, and the upper has become Annual Alley.

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