Worthy of Words Wednesday 1.1.14 – Formal Gardens at the Vanderbilt!

Worthy of Words Wednesday 1.1.14 – Formal Gardens at the Vanderbilt!

Masonry is an artform. Whether it’s brick and mortar or stonework, it adds wonderful structure to the garden. Take it a step farther and combine it artfully with wood and plants and you have garden magic!!  This past weekend I visited the formal gardens of  F. W. Vanderbilt National Historic Site in Hyde Park, NY. As you can see in the images below, all three elements combine nicely to create an amazing garden! 

Have you structure in your garden? Would you consider adding it? I’d love to hear your thoughts on how these images inspire you!



















Garden Designers Roundtable: Stone!

Garden Designers Roundtable: Stone!

I’m very excited this month as Garden Designers Roundtable welcomes two very talented designers joining us as we discuss ‘Stone’ in the garden. Sunny Wieler of Stone Art from West Cork Ireland, and Deborah Silver of Deborah Silver and Co. from Detroit Michigan. You’ll find links to their posts as well as our GDRT members at the end of this post. Now, lets talk about stone!

Stone is timeless and ancient. It tells a story. It holds us up, both literally and figuratively. Its decorative and functional. It reminds us not only of our surroundings, but ties us to a history begun millions of years ago. There is nothing that establishes a sense of place, more than stone.

Here in New England, one cannot travel far without encountering stone of some kind. Our soils are rocky, our main streets are lined with building built of brick and stone made or quarried within a short distance, and forest and field are lined with miles of  aged stone walls, harkening back to this region’s agrarian beginnings.

An old stone wall deep in the woods tells a tale of change to this area.

The tools used for trade and survival during those early years, often prove extremely ornamental, as this gristmill stone shows, set here into a brick patio.

Gristmill stone at Hollandia Nursery.

With no place to remove it to, farmers would pile stones on the edge of fields as they cleared for planting. These walls would later define properties, and eventually become ornamental boundaries.

Stone wall along property frontage.
A beautiful and very old step through built into a wall.

The use of native stone as ornament can also take one to a special place, or set the mood for a business, as these granite pieces do at The Sport Shop in Avon, CT.

Granite hints at the craggy mountains patrons will soon ski and snowboard down.

Finding interesting stone onsite adds character to the garden, and provides winter interest.

Found stone on a job.

Wood stone and evergreens are a match made in heaven, and when grouped together well, such as this stone, cedar trellis and Yakushimanum Rhododendron, are simply beautiful!

Stone, Cedar, and the dark green of a dwarf Rhododendron.

This granite stoop and blue stone walk being installed, will be much more attractive than the typical precast step and concrete pavers, and will be around a lot longer.

A granite stoop and bluestone walk being installed.

Stone can be machined also, into ornate and functional objects, such as this amazing table and chairs.

How's this for a dining set for the garden?

A path through a garden is will lead visitors to explore, especially if it is as lovely as this random pattern bluestone.

A welcoming path in a woodland garden.

Stone can also be art without the sculpture’s chisel. This monolith is an interesting addition to this patio just outside a professional office.

Stone as art.

Another example of found stone, this piece of brownstone was unearthed from the very spot that it now greets visitors.

Brownstone dug from ledge beneath the porch and set as a welcome post.

Use the natural materials from your site to create the sense of place within your garden, and if you are lucky enough to have stone of any kind to use, you’ll draw on the history of your site as well as the beauty.

How do you feel about the use of stone in the garden? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions, as would my fellow bloggers this month on the Roundtable. Please visit their blogs also, and share your thoughts!

Deborah Silver : Dirt Simple : Detroit, MI

Sunny Wieler : Stone Art Blog : West Cork, Ireland

Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT

Douglas Owens-Pike : Energyscapes : Minneapolis, MN

Ivette Soler : The Germinatrix : Los Angeles, CA

Jenny Petersen : J Petersen Garden Design : Austin TX

Rochelle Greayer : Studio G : Boston, MA

Susan Cohan : Miss Rumphius’ Rules : Chatham, NJ

Tara Dillard : Vanishing Threshold : Atlanta, GA