Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Private New Orlean's Gardens

Firstly...(if that's a word)...Myself and my family have been through quite a lot recently. My Father had a very serious stroke and the last thing I felt like doing was blogging or attending this tour. I attended the tour mainly because that is what my Father would have told me to do if he could have. I dearly love my father and find it hard to write or vocalize what I think and feel right now. Also the pain is so sharp that I find it difficult to share with anyone but those who love him as much or almost as much as I. Maybe soon I will be able to.

I am a member of a local garden club and serve as the state historian for the Louisiana Garden Club Federation. This year they are celebrating their 75th anniversary and the convention was in New Orleans. So, many festivities this past week were planned. One being this tour. I bought my ticket to this "Private New Orleans' Gardens" tour last October without a care in the world and was just thrilled that I got one of the last four tickets....yippeee!

From the beginning when we moved to New Orleans thirty years ago, every time we went down St. Charles street my eight year old nose was pressed against the car glass gazing at the magnificent houses and gardens.....especially the "wedding cake house". If you're from New Orleans you know what the "wedding cake house" is. No, it's not a bakery....It's a glorious Victorian house that resembles one of those huge monstrous dripping with swags, roses, and columns....and generally overdone wedding cakes.....but....it's so much more wonderful on a house...especially to an eight year old.

When I heard that this historical home was on the tour....I just had to go. Finally I would get to see the gardens behind the tall wrought iron fence and gates....

Really the lot is large for a city lot, but quite small for the size of the home. The original 1800's bisecting entrance sidewalk was removed and replace with a more visually pleasing arched sidewalk that echoed the shape of the grand entrance steps with each end of the sidewalk ending at the street and exiting through two wrought iron gates.

That day the azaleas' blooms were just ending, but the Chinese fringe tree more than made up for it. The front entrance was framed with them and they were a floating cloud of white. The very small front yard had an arched garden in the front filled with pink camellias, boxwood and impatiens.

Another exciting aspect of this tour was the fact that each garden's designer was flown in to give the tour and answer questions. Sweet. Okay....I want to know this...I want to know that....blah blah blah blah blah....thankfully they were all very patient and at least one was full of himself....not John Sidney Steele of McDugad Steele Associates, he was very very nice and patient with all our questions.
They made use of urns to bring color into the garden and serve as focal points. The garden has very few color spots and are kept purposely small. The design makes use of boxwood, small trees, magnolias, bamboo, and other plants to direct vistas and form frames around lawn areas.
A close-up view of the small clipped boxwood and flowers.
This walkway runs along the side of the house leading to side entrance and pool area. A row of tall crepe myrtles separates this walk way from a lawn area that is framed with clipped boxwood and edged with a walkway bed of grey limestone.

One of the two cute statues by the small play pool that doubles as a water feature viewed from the breakfast room.

I adore this large palm. The building in the back was once a carriage house and then a garage and now, since the driveway area has been transformed into a garden, it serves as a cabana and guest house.
The front porch had this nice sitting area. I really dig the coffee tables.

I love the way carefully pruned crepe myrtle trunks look. This young one looks great nestled among the azaleas and Japanese holly fern, and it'll look even better as it gets older.

Here is one of the two lawn areas that are frames with boxwood and lime stone. It suits the house very nicely and I imagine it provides a place to congregate when giving outdoor parties.

A parting shot of the side facade and another one of those magnificent palms.


Melba said...

Thanks for sharing the pictures with us - they are beautiful.

JeanSkirtGirl said...