Capitol Hill Garden Club In Washington, D.C., Since 1952

Meeting Topic: Member's Gardens

  • January 08, 2013
  • 7:30 PM
  • Church of the Brethren
Featuring: Jeffery Johnson, Barry Brauth, and Denny Lane

In a lively session club members Jeffery Johnson, Barry Brauth, and Denny Lane described the development of their gardens, illustrating their experiences with images of their spaces at different stages of development.

Although each garden was unique, their stories shared common themes and advice. Jeffery and Barry both realized that it would be a worthwhile investment to hire a landscape professional to develop the bones of their garden spaces. They advised anyone hiring a garden designer to interview several candidates before hiring and choose someone with experience in designing small gardens. Both successfully worked with Derek Thomas, a landscaper with lots of Capitol Hill experience.

All three speakers encouraged us to think deeply about what we want from our gardening space and be prepared to describe our wishes to the design professional in detail while remaining open to suggestion. If we have a limited budget, our presenters advised us ask the landscaper to segment the work. The first step is to get a well thought out and practical written plan, one that encourages us to use our garden space. Second is to develop the hardscape.

Since gratification is important to perseverance, our presenters cautioned us to save some of the early budget for plants. Patience may be a virtue in general, but it is essential in developing a garden. Plantings that appear sparse and puny in their first few years, fill-out and fill-in over time, giving us the look that we had hoped for as we browsed gardening magazines at the beginning of our gardening projects. All the presenters felt it was important to make their gardens personalundefinedwhether it was bringing in architectural "finds" from overseas travel, adding a favorite plant, making a play space for a child, or encouraging a sense of neighborhood pride in the development of the garden over time.

--Carol Edwards, photos by Bill Dean.

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