When we bought our 20 acres of woodlands it was bare of man-made features. Robin and I cut down what trees were necessary to make room for the building of our home, studios, storage building and eventually barn. Other than making art, our real passion has been the landscaping of the site. Though we had professional help in the building of two ponds, the rest of the labor has been largely our own. We’ve made use of most of the existing native hardwood trees (oaks, maples, hickory, walnut, ash, tulip poplar, ironwood, hackberry, cherry, sycamore, black locust, sweet gum) while encouraging along native volunteers also such as the dogwoods, redbuds, 2 varieties of sumac, creeping charley, trumpet vine, violets, woodland and prairie wildflowers, honeysuckle, red cedars, witch hazel, sassafras, etc. In addition we’ve added white pines, chocolate mimosa, hemlock, golden raintree, Japanese maple. We’ve created many different themed gardens. Each is a unique creation using the varying elevations of the land, additions of stone, sculpture, shrubs and flowers to provide the space with its own privacy and feel.
We always have several projects on-going, some of which take years to complete. It’s just amazing to watch it grown and evolve. And some of it is not what we hoped for, nor expected, but you learn to accept it and move on, preferably finding an unseen benefit in the making. Like when an ice storm took out our most prized dogwood. We mourned the loss and then moved on to a chocolate mimosa for the same site—a delightful choice for its color, exotic nature and dappled shade in the heat of the summer. Though it’s not a particularly long-lived choice we enjoy the drama of it. We’re in the market currently for an old brass bed, preferably with the steel springs for one of the gardens. We are particularly captivated with the use of sculpture in the garden that allows the plantings to become part of the story as seen here with Sharon’s clay sculpture, “The Old Dancer”, that stays out year around, allowing the Cardinal vine to grow up around and actually through her open vessel.