United States of America, New Jersey, Somerset, Gladstone
Christina's Garden (Gladstone, New Jersey)
The two-acre garden with rustic features was built beginning in 1996 on a site with many challenges: wetlands restrictions on most of their entire 23-1/3 acre property; compacted soil and fill dirt with a high pH around their newly constructed Arts and Crafts style house; a steep difference in elevation between the building and the ground; and surrounding woodlands populated by deer, fox and wild fowl that would feast on whatever native and other ornamentals the owners planted. The owners wanted a low maintenance naturalistic style garden with minimal walls and terraces that would sustain the local ecology and conservation value of their property. The resulting garden with seven different defined rooms evolved over the next twelve years. Deer fencing was installed around one acre with rustic arbors and gates. Maple, boxwood and a crabapple allée where planted at the entry court. Next the meadow along the drive to the house was planted with a wildflower mix; deer ate most of the flowers and left the grasses which, with the addition of 1000 daffodil bulbs, provide three seasons of interest. The deer garden and shade garden has eight-foot tall fencing disguised by ornamental screens, low boxwood hedges, perennials beds and ferns. The courtyard and lilac terrace with a water feature has low shrubs planted along the walls, and hardscape built for the transition from the higher elevation of the house to the landscape. Viburnum under planted with liriope softens the staircase from the house while stachys and heucheras soften rough stone walls. In addition to the tank style water feature there is a small greenhouse with a butterfly, herb and small vegetable garden close to the house. Below the two terraces a rockery was installed on the steep slope that was paved with boulders and stepping stones leaving space for stabilizing plants including miniature forsythia, Japanese maple, hemlock, bearberry, lady's mantle and columbine. The Zen garden has stacked stones on a bed of grass shaded by tupelo and surrounded by red twig dogwood and hydrangea that screen the deer fence.
There is a moonlight garden below the lower terrace planted with trees and shrubs that have white flowers or gray foliage to capture the shimmer of lights from the moon and the pool. Elms that did not survive were replaced by oak trees and the perennials, grasses and ground covers planted between rough stones have included white Echinacea, liatris, nicotiana, nigella, phlox and thyme that thrive depending on the increasing level of shade and depredations by groundhogs. The raised beds in the cottage garden were intended for cutting flowers and some vegetables but after the groundhogs invaded they were planted with peonies and raspberry brambles, shaded by ironwood. The trees in the native shrub border were planted to create habitat and include buckeye, pepperbush, winterberry, dogwood, and redwood. Another allée of redbud leads out of the garden towards the fire pit that overlooks the woodlands, wetlands and one of the streams on the property. The owner's hand has not stopped here as the woodlands also have been restored by removing invasive vines and shrubs and planting more native shrubs and trees. Wetlands plantings included sycamore, alder, and river birch to help stabilize storm water runoff. Ornamental oat grass was planted to compete with invasive stilt grass, while a grove of native paw paw has yet to fruit.
Persons associated with the garden include William and Betty Turnbull and Turnbull family members (former owners, 1800's-); Fred Spicer (landscape architect, 1996-1997); Ron Enyingi (landscaper, 1997-2001); Romancing the Woods (rustic arbors, 1998-2001); Steve Lambert (landscaper, 2004-2010).
The folder includes worksheets and an article.
This property is featured in "Vernacular Strength" by Catherine Lundie, published in Arts & Crafts Homes, fall 2008, pp. 66-72