As you drive down a hill from either direction and round the corner, your head will turn to the colours in Inga Woitowich’s garden. Initially it will likely be the grey-white of the huge limestone-like stone terraces. These large buttresses are actually made by Brown’s Concrete but, unless you look closely, they have the appearance of Manitoulin limestone. Their size, shape, colour are just right for this corner garden. Even the rock stairs look good—and safe. Careful structure of substantial steps from the lawn to the veranda allows you to stand comfortably and freely to admire the whole length of the garden.
From the veranda that surrounds the garden, you get another prospect. You then look down on the bleeding heart and bearded iris in their prime; Oriental poppies are in full bud with the occasional red-orange flower ahead of its mates. In early summer the red bee balm invites you and the butterflies.
As you stroll along the railing, the window-boxes with brilliant red begonias will not let you walk by without noticing them. Potted annuals extend the garden vision to the home entrance and veranda. The lavender is busting out all over—a glorious specimen!
In midsummer the daylily Stella d’Oro complements the dark purple of Black Snake Root (Cimicifuga Racemosa atropurpurea) with orange and cream coleus on the other side. Roses are in bud and will reveal their loveliness in a few days.
Inga has many shrubs, but they do not overpower their perennial neighbours. Indeed, bearberry is a low growing groundcover that creeps over and down the rock surfaces, allowing full view of the brighter flowers. The dark purple is viewed again in the bushy Barberry. The popular Waterer spirea extends the contrast with its lighter purple flower heads.
There is something for the whole growing season. In late summer and early fall the Sedum spectabile Autumn Joy will put on a show. Even in mid-summer, they are huge specimens. Perhaps it is the food that Inga gives them, but more likely tender care with water when they need it, good drainage and full sun.
The natural cedar mulch makes the beds look good, she says, and keeps the water from evaporating.
Inga says she loves colour and it seems the brighter the better—the red is reddest and the yellows brilliant. Decorating with colour in the garden is consistent with the elegant interior design of her home. It is the plant combinations in colour and shape that really make this garden the delight it is.
It might seem like a lot of work but she says, “You have to spend your time on something.” The hard work and long hours yield the garden she wants. The creative act of the garden produces a very personal satisfaction that discounts the hard labour.
“When I come home from work I smile. I love this place,” she sighs.
David Kechnie is Sudbury Living’s gardening writer.