I’ve been told by several folks that I missed a spectacular snowstorm in Virginia over the weekend, the sort of snowstorm where ice and snow clung to every horizontal and vertical object and mounded on birdbaths and swings, stopped traffic and brought everyone outside to marvel at a wonderland of white.
I was sorry not to experience the beauty of a Virginia snow but I am in San Diego where bird of paradise is considered a weed and euphorbia and jade are considered trees. On one garden excursion, a small private hillside of cape honeysuckle jumped out to me as making the best of an invasive plant. Over 15 years ago, the Mission Hill owners wondered how to deal with the thick, wiry honeysuckle that traveled onto their property from a neighbor’s yard. They resolved the problem by designing a whimsical landscape of their travels to far off lands, Egypt, Asia, South America, Mexico and Europe.
It takes time to see all the countries represented but if you sit on the curb long enough, elephants, Buddha, an armadillo, monkeys and snakes begin to take shape. If you move to another position, the view changes along with your interpretation of what you see. There is a turtle, a surfer, a sombrero, a camel, mythical creatures and more. I felt a little like a kid stretched out on the cool grass on a hot summer day watching clouds change shape.
There are no forms supporting the creatures. Each individual topiary is all honeysuckle, obviously carefully hand trimmed to a specific model the owners created. The time it takes to maintain this garden can only be imagined. I am always awed by the generosity of a garden owner when I see a private landscape like this that is clearly meant to be shared with the public. Many thanks!
Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester