Norma's Friendly Garden

Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Norma’s garden has it all and she is quite nearly single-handedly responsible for its beauty and variety. She says gardening is her therapy and it is clearly working. Here’s some of what I learned in Norma’s garden.
First of all, I’ve got to have a coral honeysuckle column. Norma’s must be 9 feet tall and in full bloom with scores of red trumpets. I can anchor a wire structure to a pole easily enough and grow a hummingbird buffet. I’d also like just such a 3d vine column planted with morning glories and moonflowers alternating all the way around. Blooms day and night! Maybe four o’clocks at the base of the tower…
Norma has several sitting areas, and she’s inspired me to make more of my benches and chairs. You can get comfortable in Norma’s garden and smell the jasmine at dusk. It wafts down from its perch high in a pine tree, a huge, shiny green vine wrapping its support in fragrant white flowers.
The palette of plants here makes great use of strong reds and yellows to balance the green lawn and tall trees. That’s an inspiration to me since I seem to be stuck in white and pink to accent my own green world. Her red Japanese maple is glorious and bold yellow daylilies and red roses really pop. All thrive in the sunny spots within the dappled shade of her back garden, placed and grown to best advantage. She mulches, waters, fertilizes and rejoices in every new sprout. Neatly pruned trees and shrubs lead you down the path where more excitement awaits. Here, she reinforces the color theme in ornaments carefully chosen and placed. The house is dark red brick decorated with a sweet yellow sun and lights in orange shades. A deep red gazing ball and patio umbrella complete the bright accents.
The sunniest corner is given over to vegetables and herbs. Eggplants are ready to be picked for the grill and tomatoes are well on the way. You have to love a gardener with perfectly sculpted beds and abundant ornamental plants who makes room for edibles. Fruit trees, flowers, a fine green lawn – Norma grows it all.
I really covet the way Norma combines container plants with garden beds. Each holds a little surprise for you to find as you walk around exploring the garden. I’ve not figured out how to put containers around artistically without creating the need to water each one by hand. But seeing Norma’s makes me want to work on it and with all the wonderful pottery available these days, I’m going to do it.
The hours it takes Norma to maintain the garden pay off in the time she gets to sit on the dock with friends admiring her work, listening to music and swapping stories. The view at sunset is stunning: roses bloom in a bed as the sun’s reflection fades on a big red pot of marigolds and salvia. The light lingers across the shimmering lake, and you want the day to linger, too. But too soon the solar lights come on, and it’s time to go.
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