Bobbie Brooks, garden designer, New England.
I started gardening in 1988 after purchasing my home on Cape Ann, north of Boston. Every year the grassy areas shrank and the gardens grew as I collected this and that. I was delighted that the plants actually grew. I was hooked! Everything had a cottage garden feel to it as I crammed in yet one more collection of plants. If there was an empty space, in went the latest acquisition. However, I soon became unsatisfied with a messy look, and started moving plants around as I explored how to create color/texture venues by adding more structure to each garden area. I am neater now, but not by much, and still consider myself a cottage gardener. No plant is unloved! (Well, not too many!)
It was not long until I was asked to design gardens for others, teach gardening classes, and lecturing. Over the next several years, my hobby turned into my vocation. I enjoy it all, from creating small 'gardenscapes' to large estates and my business became Distinctive Garden Designs.
Being rather obsessed, I have collected many plants for both sun and shade gardens but am hooked on daylilies. It wasn't enough for just collect 1000 varieties over the years, I then wanted to create new ones, and a backyard hybridizer was born! (And my lilylady nickname.)
A little garden tour below starting from looking over the 275' granite wall that was built after the war. My little home was built in 1865 and there are still four 200 year old oak trees on the property.
New England, on the ocean, brings varied weather conditions among which are Nor'easters.
Same area in the summer
I love to create gardens using shrubs, perennials, ornamental grasses, annuals, bulbs, herbs and large containers. Creating gardens that are in full color and have garden structure throughout the seasons is very important. Plant texture is as important as bloom season. This creates a garden that is a year round pleasure.
The formal daylily beds were created with yards and yards of compost to help amend the sandy acid soil here. And each year some of the beds are topdressed with a few more inches.
Farmer's gold brings on great plant growth and flowers.
The cottage beds consist of the round island and perennial border seen above, and a tapestry garden that was determined by the old trumpet vine near the house. It has the colorful hot garden venues.
Looking downhill towards the little brook is the lavender purple plum garden.
And around the Christmas tree the area is being transformed into a yellow/blue garden.
The latest additions have been these gorgeous Pink Impression Darwin type tulips that are in bloom right now (4/12). In the background is an old Magnolia, 'Liliput' just starting to bloom. This is part of the lavender plum purple garden that was remade last fall.
I no longer see a plant standing alone but immediately want to pair it with a companion. "Now, let's see, where might I put this where it will show off both plants?" I will share a few favorite vignettes below.
Not afraid of color am I!
And I would be remiss not to add a few of my daylily hybrids!
Hemerocallis 'And So It Goes'
H. 'Simply Scintillating'
All my daylily intros have been added to the database on ATP!
As I continue to grow and learn, I am now involved in writing articles for garden publications, have PowerPoint Presentation home CD's that I offer to gardeners and clubs on Garden Design, Shade Gardens, Wildflower Gardens, Daylilies, etc; I lecture internationally, and continue to design gardens. If you would like to see more, my website is Distinctive Garden Designs, http://www.distinctivegardendesigns.com/ There you will see some of the estates, and my daylily hybrids. You can 'like' me in Facebook under the same name where I continue to add photos weekly as well as my posts on ATP/Daylilies.
You may contact me at [email protected]
Hope you enjoyed!