Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Dogwood Circle - Garden Visit with Mary Anne Williams

On a beautiful June afternoon, I visited with Mary Anne and Charlie Williams in their lovely home. It was such a pleasure to sit with this couple at their kitchen table, which looks out on their gardens, and listen to them tell me about finding the perfect place to build their home sixteen years ago and how they started designing their gardens. They knew they wanted a wooded lot with lots of trees, grass, plants and flowers. And believe me they found the perfect place to make their dreams come true!
You enter their property by driving down a long driveway, and along the driveway, you will see the large trees and beautiful flowers Mary Anne has planted. Recently they installed street lights along the driveway for night driving. Sometimes this summer I'm going back for a night drive down the driveway. Ha! As you arrive at the front of the house, you will find a large fountain enclosed in a circle using bricks, and inside the circle around the fountain, Mary Anne has planted blue Plumbago. The beds at the front door are filled with Saliva Gregg ii and Blue Daze. What a magnificent welcoming sight!
On the back of the house is a screened porch, that leads to the English Knot Garden. A Knot Garden is a formal design in a square frame using hedges, plants, annuals, rose bushes, herbs and focal points in each area. Squares and circles seem to be the most popular designs that are now used in a Knot Garden. Walkways of gravel, flagstone, bricks or other materials are weaved among the knots. The Williams put down 85 pallets of grass on their property and then began work developing the gardens. Sixteen years later their home and gardens are spectacular! 
As you enter the knot garden you will see mint, parsley, oregano, two kinds of chives, and basil. Along the west side of the garden is a row of rosemary bushes and spirea bushes. On the opposite side of the garden are three fully grown Holly Stevens Trees, which were planted to give privacy to the garden and to separate it from the rest of the property. Mary Anne has included
Mexican Sage, bush daisies, hibiscus, Florabunda roses, and Firecracker plants in the back half of the garden. In the center of the knot garden is an old fountain surrounded by dwarf Marigolds and multicolored Pinatas. Agapanthas (Lilies of the Nile) surround two sides of the garden and were just beautiful when I was there. The back side of the garden has Knockout Roses and "7 Sister Roses" which flank two stone benches. The walkways wind through the different knots of the garden allowing you to just walk around enjoying all the loveliness. Charlie and Mary Anne have created a haven for humans and birds (and squirrels).
The day I was there I was just amazed at the beautiful birds. As we sat at the kitchen table talking, the birds and butterflies were all a flutter feeding on the flowers and at the bird feeders. Mary Anne did tell me how much the squirrels enjoy her garden, too, much to her distress. She has shared some of her bird pictures with me and I will be featuring them on Facebook.
The garden is rather sad in the Winter according to Mary Anne, but I just can't see that. She plants petunias in the winter, where the pinatas are in the summer, for color. She does try to use perennial plants to keep the cost of replanting in line. But each year she uses some annuals. This property has to be beautiful in all seasons!
You can tell Mary Anne and Charlie love their home, and have worked hard to make it a special place for their family and the wildlife that live there. Mary Ann told me that," she works hard to keep her little piece of earth something the Good Lord would like looking down upon". I would say she and Charlie have accomplished this big time! Thanks for the visit.
Mary Anne is a member of the Dogwood Circle at Mandarin Garden Club and Charlie is a retired dentist who enjoys woodworking.
Article written by Mandarin Garden Club member, Betty Waldrep

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