Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Barbara Katz's Garden - The backyard of my dreams


On the second full day of the 2017 Garden Bloggers' Fling, our first stop was the garden of landscape designer Barbara Katz, the owner of London Landscapes LLC.  Her garden is in Bethesda, Maryland and she was there to greet us in her front garden when our buses arrived.

The flower-filled front garden, photographed from the street looking toward the front steps of the house

A view of the front of the house looking back toward the driveway on the left, with lots of neatly arranged plants in pots waiting for a home

A closer look at the front porch with its attention-grabbing red rocking chairs

And a wonderful planter containing succulents, which made this Southern California girl feel right at home


Barbara told a delightful, fairy tale come true story of developing and maintaining the garden we'd arrived to see for a client who, years later, elected to sell the property.  Barbara and her husband purchased it so, as she said, she got the landscape of her dreams with someone else paying the cost of its development.

Barbara led us to the back of the property through a narrow side garden.

I could already tell that this property was going to be packed with beautiful plants


Barbara had mentioned that the back garden had a "wow" effect on visitors but I wasn't prepared for its impact on me when I stepped into the area.  Perhaps it's greedy of me to covet a garden like this one when I enjoy a very nice panoramic view of the Los Angeles Harbor and the surrounding city but, if I had my druthers, I'd have a garden like this one.  The lot stretched upward 12 feet with mature trees forming a green backdrop to the rear.  The steep slope was densely and creatively planted.  

I loved the beautiful smoke bush (Cotinus coggygria) in this area at the foot of the slope

Here's a view of the varied plant material that packed the area to the left of the stairs leading up to a flat lawn area

More succulents in pots arrayed along the steps of the stairway


The terraced area held a secluded seating area tucked into the trees on the left.

Take notice of the details here

I don't always like human statuary in gardens but this little figure seemed just right standing next to the pretty pink-flowered Hydrangea

A pretty pot that complemented but didn't compete with the planting bed next to it


On the other side of the lawn there was a good-sized gazebo.

This looked like a wonderful place to hang out and enjoy the garden

A close up of the planter to the right of the gazebo's entrance

Another packed planting bed lay alongside the gazebo where the property sloped downward


Below the gazebo was a waterfall that spilled down the slope roughly parallel to the steps.

View of the upper pond, complete with water lilies, looking downward toward the patio to the right of the pond

A close up of the succulent-filled pot on the pond's edge 


The main patio at the bottom the the slope provided the perfect vantage point from which to view the lower pond area and the plants surrounding it.

The water from above flowed into this pond adjacent to the patio

This is the planting bed that faced the patio

There were many plant vignettes I loved in this garden but the one captured in this photo is perhaps my favorite so I'm tagging it as this week's Wednesday Vignette.  Visit Anna at Flutter & Hum for more Wednesday Vignettes.

There was another good-sized seating area next to the house


I exited the back garden from a side area on the opposite side of the house from the area through which we'd entered.  I was amused to see still more plants in pots sitting there in a nursery-like arrangement, waiting to be used in this garden or perhaps that of a lucky landscaping client.

Plants waiting for a home


This garden was one of the highlights of the Fling for me.  However, there are many more Fling-related posts to come as I continue to slowly work through my photographic backlog.


All material © 2012-2017 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

32 comments:

  1. Hi Kris, I can see why you loved this garden so much! It is really special! Packed with beautiful interesting plants. And designed very well. And has lots of inviting seating. And... It seems to have it all! Of course, this type of garden is only possible in a climate that is cooler and gets much more rain than ours. But what I am learning from it is, that I need to plant much more densely to get the effect that I like in my own garden.
    Thank you so much for featuring this gem!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Yes, I took away much the same lesson, Christina. Placing shrubs and perennials based on their mature size is a sound strategy but filling in with temporary plants, like annuals, would create a welcome sense of fullness during the years (and years) it takes for those plants to reach that size.

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  2. How did you get so many long-shots without people? You're amazing! Funny, thinking back on this garden I couldn't have told you what the house looked like. Even seeing it in your photos I didn't recognize it. I guess that means the garden was so good it captured my full attention.

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    1. I try to take an obligatory photo of the house when I tour a garden if only for the purpose of identifying where the garden was but my real focus was on the garden's design and the plant combinations. I cropped a lot of people out of my photos!

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  3. I've really been looking forward to reading people's posts about the second day of the Fling, because I missed it. I enjoyed this a lot, it looks like it was a wonderful garden. I love the succulent pots planted up alongside the stream (something I could do with my own). Love your favorite vignette too, although those fancy coneflowers don't seem to have much vigor here. When I read your comment about "mature trees forming a green backdrop" I knew at least one reason why this garden captured your heart.

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    1. I've always been strongly attracted to woodland-style gardens, which is strange in that I've lived in SoCal my entire life and there's nary a woodland to be found here! I have the same experience you do with coneflowers - they're really just expensive annuals here.

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  4. This garden is really beautiful, I love the style of the pond and the gorgeous gazebo. Thanks for sharing these lovely pictures.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it. It really was a lovely garden. I'd love to have a pond myself but, between our water issues and the raccoons, I suspect it might be more trouble than it's worth.

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  5. We saw many great gardens on the Fling but Barbara Katz's garden was my favorite. So much to take away from that beauty.

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    1. Her plant choices probably translate better to your garden space than mine, Sue, but I was surprised to see so many that I can actually grow. And she even had succulents!

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  6. Lovely photos! I enjoyed this garden as well.

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    1. Thanks Laura! I think this garden went over big with many, if not most, of us.

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  7. Her passion and story captured my heart too; along with her gorgeous gardens! So happy to have met you in person :)

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    1. When she said she burst into tears upon hearing that the original owner planned to sell the property, it was clear her connection to the garden runs deep. It's wonderful that she was able to acquire the property. It was good to meet you in person too, Cat!

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  8. Loved your description of Barbara's garden. This was my favorite of all the ones we visited. Beautiful planting and peaceful setting.

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    1. That back garden did feel like a world unto itself, Susie!

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  9. Not just the vignette, but the entire garden is beautiful. The light under those mature trees is just perfect for me. So very nice, but I have to say, I love your garden, too. :)

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    1. I love my garden too, and I'm more connected to it after 6 years than I was my former garden after 20, but a woodland garden tugs at my heartstrings for reasons I can't even begin to explain.

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  10. Beautiful garden, with many choice plants. It reminds me of yours, actually. Just some years more matured, and in a different climate--with more of that stuff that falls from the sky--no, not mimosa fuzz--what do they call it..."rain"?

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    1. I really couldn't get over how much greener the DC area is, HB. We're so very dry in comparison.

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  11. I was completely smitten with this garden, but I have to say if I had the choice I'd take your lot and your view. I place high value on distant neighbors ! Not to mention looking at water and in particular a harbor that has many ingrained childhood memories for me.
    This garden was so rich in texture and color-play. You documented it well !

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    1. It's funny, Kathy, but when we moved here the houses seemed so very far apart, at least by comparison to the density of the beach cities I'd lived in previously. It felt as though we had so much breathing room. Now the neighbors seem all too close...

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  12. What a stunner. I can't believe how much she has packed into that space. Makes me want to run right out into my garden and make some changes.

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    1. She did pack in the plants. I've been telling myself for years that I mustn't plant anything (except possible succulents) in summer here but I admit I've been plant shopping a couple of times since I returned from the Fling, wanting to recreate some of what I saw back east. Unfortunately, the sun hasn't dialed down the heat and Mother Nature hasn't delivered any rain so I'm apt to lose half of what I've planted...

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  13. It really is a stunning garden. You captured a few container combos that I missed. There was just so much to see! Pam/Digging: penick.net

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    1. You did a better job than I did at zooming in on more of Barbara's beautiful plant combinations, Pam, but I guess one bonus of a tour like this is that the varied blogger posts help to fill in any blanks.

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  14. A beautiful garden - lots of color and texture, and I always love a garden with a water feature!

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    1. I love water features too. That doesn't seem to be in the cards for me but, looking on the bright side, I suppose a pond or a waterfall would just provide more opportunities for the raccoons to make mischief.

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  15. Wow factor for sure! What a lovely garden. I wonder what Barbara does with all of those tender succulents in the winter. Was there a greenhouse?

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    1. I didn't see a greenhouse or even a shed so maybe she makes do with occupying the garage. It wasn't a huge lot but she certainly made the most of it.

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  16. a very loved garden, I love the different spots where you can sit and take in the garden - from the rocking chairs on the porch to the outdoor seating, and the gazebo. I also adore the pots. And basically everything else ... I guess it's my dream garden too.

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    1. It's one of those gardens I'd have enjoyed sitting in for awhile, just to soak it up. That isn't easy when you're surrounded by almost 50 other bloggers, all snapping photos on a relatively tight schedule!

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