Tropical Garden Spaces

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Tropical Garden Design

GARDEN DESIGN takes you behind the scenes of great gardens with glorious photographs of extraordinary outdoor settings. In every issue, you get tips for creating outdoor spaces you want to live in, plus advice for growing the hottest new plants.

Tropical Outdoor Spaces

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Opposite:There was plenty of space on the greenhouse patio to stage a sizable focal point, but rather than a mixed container, Jacquelyn Nooney used a single, strong conifer with variegated ivy spilling down.A yellow dahlia jutting from the bed behind shows how much tender plants like Maine summers.

daylilies, roses, coleus, cacti, dahlias, alliums and heirloom tomatoes: "We needed something to feed my fetishes") and Jacquelyn's design specifically created to welcome annual innovation, there was ample opportunity for derring-do.

The growing window in Maine might not be wide, but the garden packs a succinct statement into a limited time frame, playing brave colors against masses of textural grasses, salvias, sedums, et al., creating sweeping gestures. Strong structure keeps everything in line. Simple, straight vistas direct your gaze. Basically, the beds form a series of mirrored rectangular spaces cut by a strong central axis and an equally pronounced cross axis. A long, leisurely pergola above the cross axis, shouldering wisteria, provides shade from the seaside sun and frames the central focal point—a planted, rustic stone trough. A sparkling, inviting pool is off to the side, accented with containers billowing with grasses, coleus or whatever is hot that year.

Keeping within the Yankee vernacular, the beds are edged neatly with

"The growing window in Maine might not be wide, but the garden packs a succinct statement into a limited time frame, playing brave colors against masses of textural grasses"

granite cobblestones, and the paths are pebbled (Jon and Jim requested that the tread be comfortable to walk barefoot). Spaces are given roles.The beds along the pergola are prescribed to receive whatever Jon has fixated on that year. Meanwhile, to preserve the peace, these "wild-card" areas are skirted by a series of nepeta-hemmed architectural beds each featuring a single statuesque hornbeam.The majestic allée they create provides what Jacquelyn calls a "backbone of solid perennials," allowing her to give the more fluid beds a new "hairdo" every year. Colors are carefully intermingled; textures are similarly meticulously staged. The result is haute horticultural coiffure, balance being everything.

Further gardens have sprouted on the property, and a greenhouse was added to accommodate Jon's proclivity for flowers despite winter. Since the beds require thousands of "seasonal plants" every year, the greenhouse doesn't attempt to feed that staggering appetite—Jacquelyn grows the annuals herself off-site. Farther afield is a restful shade garden and vegetable/herb garden. The cultivated segment is 3 acres and expanding. The garden spaces lead one into the next, a gradual progression that changes mood and material, depending on the light, the theme of the space and Jon's latest whim. Each garden is intensive but serenely focused, with all components in concert.There are no jarring moments. Sure it's jam-packed, but it gels.

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Tropical Flower Beds Against Houses

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  • The raucous flower bed farther up the highway from the King/Stott home was a brilliant move on Stonewall Kitchen's part.What with the massive plants beside the road sign ("Nothing under 4 feet will do" is Jacquelyn Nooney's decree), you can't resist the botanical bait. Giants like castor bean and further islands of flowers serve as a treasure hunt, pulling you into SK's shop and café.
  • quot;Packing it in to engage the public" is Jacquelyn's goal at the flagship store. She has two long strips to work with, the mission being to "create something that's wild, zany, wooly and dynamic where guests will stop to admire and touch the plants." Basically, partaking of the garden becomes an experience just as enjoyable and uplifting as savoring the culinary wares.
  • Jacquelyn's signature style is to play the tension of tall and short plants off each other: lettuce and pansies below tulips,'Bull's Blood' beet below brugmansia, papyrus waving above salvias. "The garden just rocks and rolls," she says.
  • Initially, not everyone in the corporate campus agreed that Stonewall Kitchen needed to invest in a garden of such proportions. But ultimately, the gardens became crucial to the ambiance and inextricably bound with the brand.The garden defined the destination. "We even made the number crunchers into believers. It was a smart, strategic move," says Jacquelyn—her final analysis.

Creating Inspirational Sculpture For Over 25 Years

'"Circle of Peace' captures the essence of what I'm trying to say with my work. It is about interaction. The circle formed by the children represents the continuum of humanity. It's about the entire human family creating relationships and respect for each other. By playing and working together we can avoid the prejudices and hate that develop by avoidance and non-interaction. The clasped hands represent those friendships and bonds. I created a space in the circle. It's fascinating to watch children interact with the sculpture. The second they notice the gap they automatically clasp the two outstretched hands and complete the circle. Exactly so! Each and every child is a vital link in this wonderful circle of life we call humanity."

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