Nan Cobbey Maine

From a site strewn with stones, a gardener creates a landscape that delivers both beauty and bounty

LEFT: Nan moved this lovely old-fashioned Rosa glauca rose from her old home to her new house in the back of her station wagon.

Amove trom a small plot in Gloucestershire, Massachusetts, to two acres in Belfast, Maine, opened up a world of possibilities for Nan Cobbey. "My previous setting was lovely, but I had little space to garden," she explains. "I longed for a big vegetable patch where I could grow my own produce, can and freeze to my heart's content, and still have stuff for the root ccllar."

This kind of pioneer thinking led to Nans purchase of an 1805 farmhouse with a sunny backyard ideal for vegetables—except for all the stones. Some were stacked, some were embedded, some were just lying about. "I hired a guy with aback-

hoe to clear it out and filled in with yards and yards of compost," she sayrs. "Then I had to deal with the deer. A split-rail fence with black mesh took care of that, and 1 still have an open view,"

Not one to let anything go to waste, Nan recycled those stones to build a retaining wall for a patio; she even has stone benches and a stone sink "to wash all the dirt off before 1 go inside."

And then came die actual garden. Even though Nan had a vision, she signed up for a landscape-design course. The result is a plot patterned like a clockface, with a central island anchored by a Celtic cross and beds radiating out from it. "The plan ww w.womansd ay. co in/specials Find more magazines at www.magazinesdownload.com

GARDENING & OUTDOOR LIVING 81

BELOW:

Osteospermum, native to southern Africa, blooms from spring to fall and brightens up Nan's garden. She grows it as an annual since it will not survive a Maine winter.

Segmented Circle

LEFT: Nan designed her vegetable garden in a segmented circle. Each spring, following age-old farming methods, she rotates her crops to the next section so they do not deplete the soil of nutrients.

is great from every angle, and I can rotate the beds every year with out disturbing the overall scheme." The center, however, remains intact, growing with roses, asparagus, rhubarb, horseradish and strawberries. For vertical interest Nan planted fruit trees along one edge and mixed flowers, mostly nasturtium and California poppies, with her astonishing selection of vegetables.

"I accepted any free plants I could get," she laughs. "Then I filled in with my own wish list."This included astrantia, anise hyssop ("leant get enough of it"), black cohosh, and 'Endless Summer' hydrangeas.

As for her vegetables, the crop includes standbys like beans, cabbage, carrots and onions and less familiar picks such as artichokes and cclcriac. Many are grown from seed, but Nan docs depend on some nursery-born starts because of the short Maine season. "I must admit I'm pretty pleased. Last year, I harvested enough to fill 2V? freezers, an entire pantry and my root cellar... and I still had vegetables to share," she exclaims. But that's not all the garden yields. "It's a never-ending source of pleasure. I'm thrilled with all the surprises it brings. Not to mention the compliments. I'll always take those."

Circular Beds For Pleasure

LEFT: "There were so many rocks, even the backhoe guy was discouraged," says Nan of her backyard before the makeover, "But we persevered and carved out a large circular patch, 325 feet in circumference. The effort was worth it,"

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These days the garden is .chockablock with goodies. Beans climb up simple wood trellises; nasturtiums and poppies provide color; and the beds are filled with incredible edible^-like broccoli, red a~nd green Brussels sprouts, Tuscan ,.ruby chard and leeks.

Tuscan Courtyard Paving

BELOW: Lupines do weil in this part of Maine and, along with delphiniums, provide striking spires of summer color, Astrantia and catmint are two of Nan's favorites.

The patio is truly a haven, with thyme tucked between the paving stones and a view that takes In both the garden and the forest beyond. To the left is a gravel courtyard, edged with beds of herbs. "I walk out the kitchen door and snip parsley, cllantro, chives-just about any herb i • _want," Nan says.

Landscape Lessons

In an effort to sharpen her garden-design skills, Nan signed up for a local course and picked up these valuable insights. BALANCE Although perfect symmetry isn't essentiaf, aim for proportion. "Because of its huge retaining wall, my patio called for some weight on the other side. Three stone benches on the gravel court did the trick." VIEWS "You should look out every window and plan your garden accordingly," Nan learned, "Every view should show something of interest—and that means windows on both upper and lower floors." PATHS Walkways should provide entry to all parts of the garden as well as wrap around the house. Consider curving lines for a softer effect, and vary the materials. CONVENIENCE The best design gives expedient access to things you want most. Plant herbs right outside the kitchen door; place a sitting area near both house and garden; size beds so you can easily reach into them.

mww.momansdav.com/speci3ls GARDENING & OUTDOOR LIVING 85 Find more magazines at www.magazinesdownload.com

Garden

Perk up your landscape with solid structures

Written by Peter Walsh i.i successful home landscape needs ¿A \ more than just trees, shrubs and flowers. The best gardens, those that get the raves, feature elements such as stone pathways, cozy gazebos, inviting gates and pretty pots filled with colorful plants. These are the things that draw interest from visitors and they exude your personality as well. They also form a solid structure for the ever-changing plants nearby. When shopping for these permanent elements, consider the architecture of your home and honor it with your choices. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Garden Retreat opposite:

This classic, charming shingled shed with its shaded seat is both a focal point and destination, drawing the visitor down the path and providing a comfy spot for viewing the garden. It also offers a retreat from the elements while gardening. The soft, blue-gray color of the shingles captures the hues of the lavender plants in full bloom, it can be built on site by a carpenter, or a similar structure can be found at places that sell premade sheds ready for delivery.

Warm Welcome right: this covered gate welcomes visitors to the path leading through the circa-1928 garden restored by landscape historian Elizabeth Mills. The design of the gate echoes the mullioned glass door and windows of the house. The overhead arbor further echoes the portico over the front door. Surrounded by lush green arborvitae, the gateway is inserted into the shrubbery for a secret-garden feel, A gate like this Is best installed by a carpenter so it operates properly.

Iron Arbor Over PathwayIron Arbor Over Pathway

Walk This Way ABOVE: When a pathway is desired but the budget is tight, using recycled materials is a great money saver. This do-it-yourself garden path, perfect for a front walk, was made of salvaged slates and terra-cotta tiles, all in similar natural red tones for uniformity. The key is to level the surface and fill the space with clean sand before installing the paving materials. The entrance is defined by an iron gate, and the rich green plantings in a tapestry of textures keep it neat looking.

Curves Ahead OPPOSITE: Formal settings need not be straightlaced. In fact, it makes for a more interesting journey through a yard if a garden pathway meanders a bit, allowing the s plantings to reveal themselves along the way. This professionally c installed granite-block path is bordered by clipped boxwood ^

bushes that define the edges, help contain the lush flowering g plants behind them, and allow just a bit of their beauty to spill ^

out and soften the edges of the path. Between the pavers, i low-growing plants that can withstand the crush of foot 5 traffic tie the garden to the path. Unobtrusive light fixtures in patinated metal illuminate the way for a quiet evening stroll. S

Growing Moss Between PaversUnder Eaves Clothes Hanging Solutions

Hang 'em High

OPPOSITE: Where ground space is limited, a hanging container garden is the solution. Hang several from a porch overhang or overhead arbor, or place one under the eaves flanking a door. Hanging baskets filled with plants can also provide a sense of privacy, adding a cozy, enclosed feeling to a porch or patio. This one includes a mix of fast-growing vining plants, such as sweet potato vines and cordytine, for a dramatic mix of dark and light flower and foliage colors. It's all planted in a moss-lined wire basket for a natural look, perfect for any home style.

Making an Entrance right: A trio of containers helps define a walkway and adds a charming accent to this traditional, sunny setting. Use varying sizes of containers to achieve a relaxed, natural look. Fill one with soft pink petunias, another with Persian Shield, cordyline and more of the same pink petunias, A salmon-colored geranium and pink gaura in another pot help complete the scene. Here, the colors echo the flowers biooming in the garden bed edging the white picket fence and complement the rosy hue of the flagstones in the walkway.

Persian Accents Ideas

Shopping for Inspiratioi

If you are at a loss about what elements to add to your yard or how to do it, this list will help you get started. Begin slowly and carefully to achieve the best-looking landscape in town.

Visit botanical gardens A walk through a botanic garden provides a wealth of ideas. Take a pad and pencil and jot down notes or sketch ideas. Visit them when you travel, too, for more suggestions. Hit the nurseries Notice the way trellises, sheds and container gardens are situated at your local garden centers. Borrow those ideas for your own yard. GO On 3 tour Many towns have garden ciub tours, so sign up and go! Ask questions and take a camera.

Visit your library The shelves are chock full of gardening books. Spend an afternoon dreaming through the pages of books and jotting down ideas. Hire a garden designer Certified garden designers can help you come up with a plan that you can implement in one season or over several years. They are skilled at knowing what elements will make your yard the best it can be, and they have the resources to get you exactly what you want. Ask your local nursery for recommendations. ^

10 tips

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Plan Ahead

Grow the best garden ever by following these 10 tips

Written by Ruth Rogers Clausen

Written by Ruth Rogers Clausen

Plan Ruth Stout Vegetable Garden

1 Be sure to follow the sun,

Note the amount of sun each part of the garden gets. "Full sun" means 6 to 8 hours of sunlight. If your yard gets less, select plants that prefer partial sun or light shade.

2 Do your prep work. Prepare the soil by digging In generous amounts of humus (compost, rotted leaves, bagged dried manure, peat moss, etc.). This will Improve soil texture and drainage for both clay and sandy soils.

3 Go organic. Create compost to amend your soil. Save peelings and other vegetable materials from the kitchen (never meat or fish scraps) and toss them into a pile or a store-bought composter. Be sure to stir in leaves, grass clippings and plant prunings, too.

4 Give roots a chance. Never use peat moss dry as it wicks moisture from plant roots. Poke holes in the plastic wrapping with a garden fork so the rain can percolate in or douse it well with water to moisten it before use.

5 Observe your surroundings. Choose plants that are growing in local display gardens or your neighbors' yards. You know these wilt thrive in your yard.

6 Select wisely. Choose large, healthy-looking plants from the nursery, rejecting spindly or sickly specimens. Tip out potted plants and reject any that appear to have a tangled root mass.

7 Dig in. Plant shrubs in a wide but shallow hole. Loosen the soil In the hole and work in well-rotted compost. Place the root ball and backfill with soil amended with compost. Firm and water thoroughly.

8 Wait for warmth. Plant out tomato, eggplant and pepper plants only after night temperatures remain In the 50s. If you plant too early, you run the risk of soft plant tissue being set back due to cold nights.

9 Prune carefully. Thin seedlings of flowers and vegetables ruthlessly. Pull or cut out excess plants so the survivors stand 2 Inches apart, then thin again and again until the plants are at the recommended distance from each other. Check the instructions on the back of your seed packets. They tend to give you all the planting information you need.

10 Break out the hose. Water or run the sprinkler early in the morning or in the late afternoon. Save water by using ground level "soaker hoses." These water the plants efficiently without leaving the foliage wet overnight, which can subject the plants to disease. *

Organic Gardeners Composting

Organic Gardeners Composting

Have you always wanted to grow your own vegetables but didn't know what to do? Here are the best tips on how to become a true and envied organic gardner.

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