Hello fellow readers,
It’s a marvel how life brings people together. It’s one of the joys gained from the work I do. Especially when I rub shoulders with fellow gardeners, many far more accomplished than I in nurturing plants. Such is the case of Jacquie of Byram NJ who reached out for design assistance about the time my dear momma began her long journey home. I vividly recall the day we first spoke. It was in May of 2015, already steamy in Virginia where mom was. I wasn’t sure when I’d return because of Mom’s ill health but we set up a tentative time to meet. And so, began our sharing of life experiences.
The day we met it was torrentially raining, but no matter. With garden boots flocked in flowers and a rain jacket Jacquie gave a tour of her property. It was clear she’s a passionate gardener with perennials beautifully arranged in an island plus a charming vegetable garden with a surrounding wooden structure her husband built. She pointed and named each plant, noting from where they came. Many were divides from dear friends just as she shares cuttings from hers. She had been dreaming, planning, and saving to build a garden all around their home and shared a doodled drawing of a rustic natural stone path and patio with nooks and crannies for pockets of plants. We worked together to create a landscape of her dreams with an assortment of colors, primarily purples, pinks, yellows, adding to the lovely plants she already had. We discovered an outcropping of boulders after weeds were removed which became a haven for magnificent moss, plus a shade garden with a respite spot.
I had asked Jacquie early in the summer if I could come to take photos when the colors were in peak, but it wasn’t until last week that a visit could be arranged. She had been occupied tending to her beloved cousin and heartfelt “sister” who passed away in June. We didn’t dwell on that, rather we toured her gardens and once again Jacquie pointed out plants that she added, and ones that she lovingly moved to spots where “they will be happier.”
“This is my newest favorite plant,” she pointed to a Beautyberry (Callicarpa dichotoma) with its light green foliage and branches lined with soon to ripen tiny lavender-pink berries. It’s one of my favs too and deer stay clear. It berries best in full sun though can take part shade in zones 5 through 8. She may die back in rough winters here, but not to worry. She blooms on new wood. They love to be in groups to cross-pollinate which augments their glorious berries that coat their branches, reaching their full glory by October. The berries persist after the leaf drop and are a source of food for feathered friends. While Callicarpa dichotoma is native to eastern Asia, C. Americana is native to the southeast and grows a bit larger, to six feet tall and wide. The native beautyberry is said to repel mosquitoes and the berries can be made into jelly or wine. What a beautiful thing. Garden dilemmas? AskMaryStone@gmail.com
The installation for the entire property was a process over time with the help of a favored installer and friend Robert Molinet of Sierra Landscape Management. Click here to learn more about our special team.