Was the way a fellow garden blogger described the the undulating borders and beds as we took in the big picture of the The Plains, Virginia front garden of Linda Hostetler. Her neat, cream colored stucco home sits smack on the main street of this little village with a population of about 200. Linda is a graphic artist turned landscape designer and she has used her narrow and very long one acre lot to compose a cottage style garden packed with trees, shrubs, conifers, perennials, annuals, bulbs and ground covers organized into hundreds of vignettes curated to delight the eye and senses.
A little screening from the busy street offers an alluring view of what’s to come!
Linda repeats variations of the primary colors red, blue and yellow throughout her garden to create visual rhythm–keeping your eyes and your feet moving through her numerous plant collections.
Japanese maples, both green and red, are a staple in the Hostetler garden and are used as focal points and architectural elements. By the way–we are still in the front garden which is probably 1/5th of the total garden space.
Thriving colonies of what I think are ladybells (Adenophora) and Agastache are loving the sunnier areas of the front garden.
There are plenty of shade dwellers also–notice the red, blue and yellow foliage working in harmony.
Linda has used structure, in the form of pathways, conifers and other evergreens, low walls and hedges to define garden spaces and views. Her use of more than one path choice to move you through the garden offers the chance to see plantings from multiple angles and in different light conditions. As we start to wander toward the back garden via the side yard the first choice must be made–up or down.
I chose the pathway furthest from the house. Densely planted on both sides the path is not even visible from the lower one.
The lower path at its ‘trailhead’.
The upper path appears to lead us to…?
My route was a woodland walk with civilization mostly obscured. Hydrangeas, ferns, hostas, Solomon’s seal and other dappled light lovers guided my way.
The path opens up and a few stepping stones down bring me to the charming back patio.
You can see a fellow visitor arriving by the lower route, stopping to photograph a rustic birdhouse. Linda has used a variety of garden art and artifacts throughout–and while they all look very random at first glance–each is as carefully placed as the plant grouping it highlights. Notice the curve of boxwood acting as a low wall to define this part of the garden from the pathway.
A serene rock pond is the focal point for this patio area. The path on which I entered is actually above and behind (see the hanging basket on the tall tree trunk?) and circles around and down to the right of the waterway, allowing me to see it from above before I have even arrived at the patio level.
Another example of Linda’s use of small boxwoods to define a curve. These greens and whites really sparkled in the dappled light.
The barn–what a wonderful structure around which to build garden elements!
This stacked stone bed provides an ending point for the patio area and the starting point for the rest of the garden which I’ll call the lower back garden. Buckle up! We are going on a wild ride!
One of dozens of gorgeous conifers, large and small, which provide year round interest and structure in the Hostetler garden. This specimen sits proudly at the gateway to the lower garden and just begs you to come on down.
This first level is the sunniest area in the garden and surely the gathering spot for family and friends. Multiple pathways, gravel, stone and mulched lead off from this open spot to all reaches of the garden. Linda’s pathways take you places you did not even know you wanted to go to! Ramble around with me…
Cobalt blue is the color of choice for garden ornamentation–market umbrellas, metalwork and glass objects sport this happy hue.
The garden is on so many levels that wonderful views can be found at every turn of the path. I wish I had thought to count the blue market umbrellas throughout the garden–I am guessing there are at least a dozen, each with a comfy spot to sit beneath it.
Even from the highest paths there are lovely views up toward the fence line. This semi-shaded area sports all manner of greens nestled among large rocks.
The ‘high road’ takes us from shade to sun and back again. I love the way the elevation and sighting of the paths make them invisible–offering access to all part the garden for maintenance but no distraction from the layers of foliage and colorful blooms.
Standing on this rock to get the long view doesn’t quite make it–maybe a small helicopter?
Linda and her husband dug this 16 X 24 foot pond and its 90′ stream to provide food and shelter for the garden’s resident amphibians. A small seating area is suspended over the water’s edge, offering a shady spot to watch the wildlife.
I loved the uses of stone throughout the garden as pathways, accents, interest and structure. Look at these great chunky steps taking us back up from the pond area to the more central part of the garden.
Linda and her husband have created a garden that is the end of the rainbow for a plant junkie like me. Sadly for us, she was unable to be onsite during our visit. I would have liked to ask her about her design process–all of those paths and elevation shifts carefully planned out on paper or developed in stages as the spirit moved her? Master plant plan or “I love this and I’ll find a place for it.”? The garden is so relaxed and welcoming one could easily be fooled into thinking it just developed itself–if only that could happen I would have a garden just like this one!