SPACE TO SPACE:
HARMONIZING GARDENS AND HOMES
Sunday, May 15, 2016
Don’t we all want a room with a view? For so long a home and the garden outside of it were designed as independent spaces, very often at different times in our lives. But with the renewed interest in the outdoors, our homes and garden spaces today are more connected. We want to bring the outside in and move our families easily from inside to outside. And our Spring Garden Tour will show you how this is done. The homes on our garden sites have considered the outdoor spaces in the design of the homes. Monique and Brent Evan will also open their Craftsman-style home for the tour. You will not want to miss these gardens in Old Goodwood and White Oak Landing!
The garden tour hosts are Tricia Day and Joe Simmons (7212 Joliet Avenue, 70806), Sharon and Chris Werner (904 Audubon Avenue, 70806), Monique and Brent Evans (4736 Woodlake Drive, 70817), and Virginia and Charles Yarbrough (18626 Tranquility Court, 70817). Monique and Brent Evan will also open their home for the tour.
Tour tickets are $20 and available for purchase at the LSU Hilltop Arboretum, online click here, or at the gardens the day of the tour. Refreshments will be served in the garden of Sharon and Chris Werner in Old Goodwood. You can start the tour at any of the four gardens featured, tour map will be available soon.
Before or after you tour the gardens, a nice selection of plants will be available for sale at the LSU Hilltop Arboretum at 11855 Highland Road anytime from 1-5pm the afternoon of the tour.
For over thirty years, Tricia Day had admired a stand of clumping bamboo and stately live oak around the corner from her home in Old Goodwood. When the vacant lot became available she and her husband, Joe Simmons, decided that this was the spot to build their new home. Working closely with their landscape architect, Bill Rountree, architect, Lionel Bailey, and contractor, Rick Vinyard, the design of the home and landscape enhances the established bamboo and oak. Great precaution was taken to protect both during construction.
The home’s innovative sustainable and energy-efficient design continues in the landscape. A 5000-gallon underground tank collects rainwater from the roof for irrigation. Rountree and Vinyard attended ARCSA classes to learn about rainwater catchment systems to design and supervise the project. To reduce rainwater runoff, plantings and hardscape ensure that most water returns to the ground rather than run off into the street. The driveway, parking area, and pathways reflect the home’s character and encourage rainwater to enter the soil.
An opening in the bamboo screen provides views and access to the front garden. The bamboo and live oak frame the home, while understory plantings gracefully draw the visitor to its lovely entrance. Hydrangea, azalea, ligularia, palmetto, camellia, hosta, agapanthus, orchid, and several varieties of fern abound.
Following a pathway from the front garden to a screened outdoor living area reveals a view of the rear garden. A small lawn and exercise/spa pool anchor the planting design. Clumping bamboo provides a rear screen while shrubs frame seasonal color in the garden, including drift roses, daylilies, plumbago, lantana, and naturalizing bulbs. In late winter, fragrant flowers on bare stems of an Edgeworthia chrysantha make this plant one of Tricia Day’s favorites.
Playing off the character of the bamboo and house, local metal artist David Cano designed a privacy fence that creates a backdrop for parsley hawthorn.
An interior loggia opens to a courtyard on the home’s western side. Planted with herbs, fruiting trees and vines, and flowering perennials, the courtyard focuses on a glass greenhouse with a large sliding door designed as an extension of the living space
Our garden journey began nearly 26 years ago with the purchase of a home in Old Goodwood with many mature trees and shrubs. Garden work began with Chris designing a pattern of paths and garden rooms around existing trees. It is at its core a shade garden. The garden style is semi-formal with a central six column pergola that Chris built. From the pergola, paths radiate outward taking you to garden rooms with creative themes. There is more structure in the center with focal points and paths that transition to a more casual woodland feel around the perimeter.
Recently an effort has been made to create an environment that can take you away to another place and time. We call it romantic 19th- century garden style. A virtual botanic garden of plants are used throughout, many from Hilltop plant sales. Plants are selected to suit each garden room’s style and growing conditions as well as the interests of collectors. Color through the seasons is also an emphasis with blooming shrubs and trees. Also, color is dramatically enhanced by the use of plantings within strategically placed pots. A parterre with four obelisks and easily changed out pots is an example of this. A warm season and cool season planting is done with emphasis on long lasting color. The gardener already has a lot to keep him busy!
There is not much grass to mow in this garden as the lawn is used as a design element. Maintenance is done entirely with electric and rechargeable tools. With ten water features, the soothing sounds and cooling effects of water create magic. Effects range from a sugar kettle with a floating ball, to gurgling statues and water effects. Recently, a Japanese garden has been added with a stream and waterfall using a hidden fountain technique. Enter this room through an arch and follow the curving path surrounded by an exuberance of plants and you will arrive at a tropical conservatory we call “The Zen Room”, a structure built and rebuilt by Chris following hurricane Gustav. From the glass windows to wooden beams, almost all materials are recycled or repurposed. This greenhouse also sports an automated drip irrigation system. Another room, a gazebo named “The Garden Chapel” with botanical themes, stained glass and cherubs is new. Follow the path around and encounter a special water feature we call “The Planets” with many blue orbs. Stroll along and see a birdhouse condo rising out of a bed of fern and a garden room carpeted with moss. Our garden has been on Hilltop tours previously and been seen in numerous magazines. It is a constantly changing work of garden art and horticulture always with something new to experience.
WHITE OAK LANDING
One hot, lazy summer afternoon Brent and Monique Evans decided to take a Sunday drive. Meandering through White Oak Landing subdivision Brent took note of a house for sale. Upon returning home he researched the listing and soon after both drove back to the property to take a look.
Neglected and ramshackle, the wood clad exterior had seen better days. But words escaped both when they observed the state of the grounds that encompassed the home. The entire acreage was inundated with a pandemic of Asian jasmine. The exact species of many of the property’s trees were unidentifiable due to the massive growth of vines obscuring their trunks. The only verifiable plants were the massive 10 feet high azaleas and the pines that had littered the ground with needles. The old adage of buy the worst house in the best neighborhood was the driving force behind an expedient purchase offer. By late July 2005 the couple had sold their house and moved to their new adventure. One month later Hurricane Katrina traversed across the gulf coast bringing heartbreak and destruction. With that, graduate school for Monique and post-hurricane repairs of a Chalmette plant for Brent any discussion of renovations on house or yard were delayed for over a year.
At first the couple was convinced that what they wanted was to renovate the current house. In 2007 house plans were complete, the old house was bulldozed, and construction on their new Craftsman-style dream home was underway.
Fast forward to August 2008, having finally completed their masterpiece the couple commenced the big move. One month later Hurricane Gustave made its way through Baton Rouge. Once the dust settled and power was restored it was evident that landscaping was the least of their worries. And so the yard awaited its turn.
After several missteps with subpar and incompetent landscapers by 2011 Monique and Brent had found the right crew in Pelican Design Build. With one half of the duo an artist with landscape design, the other half a master at building anything and their combined knowledge of all manner of flora and abilities to conceptualize their clients’ dreams this powerhouse was the perfect fit for the project. And so began a journey that, 5 years later, continues today with current landscape and maintenance company Stephen Michel Land Design Group.
From the interior of the house one could choose any of four French doors that lead to a large covered porch with ceiling fans, a sectional couch, dining table, and t.v./surround sound all overlooking a lower deck and pool. Step onto the pool deck where several flower beds seem to magically emerge from the concrete. A privacy fence on the back side of the pool doubles as a hanging wall for seasonal flowers and herbs. Step to ground level where the park like setting, with wandering paths that traverse the entire backyard, is full of surprises. Walk down one path, go right and it will lead you to an inviting hammock. If you had turned left you’d come upon a fire pit ringed by comfortable Adirondack chairs. Continue down the stone steps to the lake front. This path leads to a large pier that includes a mini pier and dry storage for the couples’ kayaks as well as integrated bench seating with storage and a raised platform for additional seating. From the benches you’ll hear the sounds of falling water provided by the multilevel waterfall feature that bisects a small island, home to a mature cypress. Continue up two sets of stairs past the stone and grass grounted landing and you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of the lake and landscape from the large al fresco patio with its couches, dining tables, counters, sink, and of course a wood burning pizza oven. A final surprise awaits past the pizza oven where a hidden path descends to a small pond with a mini waterfall. Round one final corner and you’ll find the vegetable garden, grassy area for dog play, and rocky path leading to the naturalistic front yard. With a dry creek bed, another wandering foot path, scattered boulders, and a much treasured native azalea the front yard stands as a welcome mat to all who venture to this alluring paragon in the woods.
Charles and Virginia Yarbrough
18626 Tranquility Court, 70817
It is a privilege once again to present our garden, contrasting the calm, cool fall garden with the exuberantly green spring garden. One aspect of living in the woods that is not immediately obvious to the casual visitor is how much change occurs during the course of a year. Winter is about tree trunks, bark and leaves covering the ground, light tan beech leaves clinging to the branches and shimmering in the wind, with magnolias and camellias providing a dark green contrast.
When spring arrives it doesn’t jump out at you, it comes subtly and you have to look hard to see the first signs. Here it starts with a few violets, cherry tree blossoms (you will miss them if you don’t look up), and then come trilliums by the thousands. As the redbuds pink out, all those beech leaves finally start raining down to brighten the forest floor. As early spring marches on, azaleas, huckleberries, star flowers, fiddle heads, snow drops, blood root and wood sorrel chime in to announce the coming transformation.
The big change comes from March to April when trees which have been slowly opening their leaves will, over a few days, combine to create an eye-opening blanket of bright green, everywhere you look. About then tulip trees and magnolias will start flowering high above your head. The forest feels like a green cathedral. In April-May the gardenias, silverbells, late blooming azaleas, clerodendrums, indigo, viburnum, hydrangea, and others will bloom, each on its own timetable. However, the forest is not about flowers; it is primarily a composition in greens, browns, and contrasting shapes. Walk slowly through our woods and take time to see what secrets you can find, perhaps mushrooms, Arisaemas (jack-in-the-pulpits, green dragon), wahoo. . .