From the Sperry Gardens


I’ve been showing you little glimpses of a major landscape remodel we took on over the late winter, spring and into the summer in the past several issues of e-gardens. I’ll disclose it entirely in the next issue of Gardens Magazine, but this early “before” photo is a good starting point.

We live (and garden) beneath a canopy of mature pecan trees. This little patch of St. Augustine had survived to be the only remaining turf in the main part of our yard, and as you can see in the lower part of the photo, even a Jan. 22 photo finds much of the area bathed in shade. Foot-by-foot, the grass was giving it up to bare ground, and the future was calling for change.

This handsome fountain and I have a long history. I bought it almost 30 years ago, but I never liked where I had tried it, and so it had been banished to live its life across the creek and behind my greenhouse. It was overgrown with honeysuckle and overrun with animals, and we had to perform an unannounced rescue before we could even see if it might work into our landscaping remodel.

It went through the scrubbing you’d give a 5-year-old after a day in the mud, and we deemed it fit for consideration. We stacked it in place where I thought it would look best in our new garden.

We also salvaged enough of the concrete blocks we made back in the ‘80s so that we could temporarily lay a garden path in place. We had made almost 300 of these things, eight or 10 at a time, pressing ice cream rock salt (and an occasional leaf of interest) into the curing concrete just as it puddled. We used a rock hammer to knock off the corners and edges of each stone. It gave the stones an interesting patina and instant history. They provide the main corridors through all of our gardens and we love them. (Great end-of-summer project for you and the kids or grandkids. Substitute handprints for leaves as the concrete just starts to harden.)

So, that’s where this part of the story began. In the second photo you can glimpse into part of the garden that lives there today. I’ll have the expanded version in the center spread story of the September/October issue of Gardens Magazine. It will soon go to the printer. Hope you enjoy it.

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Posted by Neil Sperry
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