The planting layout consists of shrubs, perennials, ephemeral bulbs and annuals. The shrubs lend weight and architectural interest to the back of the beds; the perennials and bulbs ebb and flow, highlighting the progression of the growing season; the annuals prolong the color show, carrying it forward from mid-August up to the first frost around mid-October. The diversity of plant life cycles, size, texture and color, aside from aiming to delight and inspire, is meant to create a sense of intimacy and to showcase many horticultural practices.
The antique water trough tucked into the Southeast corner of the garden was carved from a single block of stone and provides water for small mammals, frogs, snakes, birds and insects, and a contemplative, quiet spot for visitors to sit. Next to the trough are the remains of a large and much beloved old catalpa tree. When the tree had to be removed for safety reasons, our staff converted its stump into an art feature. A window was carved through the trunk and a wind chime was placed inside. Only a gust with the right direction and speed will let it resound. In the summer luxuriant new foliage sprouts from dormant buds beneath the bark, making this a living art piece.
Look closely at the Eastern part of the stone wall separating this garden from the Herb Garden. The small set of steps built into the wall and leading up and over it is called a stile. It allows farmers to walk between fields without their livestock following behind!