Harry Truman once said, “A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.” Nowhere is this more true than in the garden, where weather and climactic conditions hold the power to alter carefully planned landscapes in what seems like the blink of an eye.
Here at Oehme, van Sweden, we’re proud of the relationships we build with our clients and honored to have worked with many of them over the course of years and even decades. It is a true pleasure to revisit one of the gardens we’ve designed and witness its evolution over time.
Recently, we were contacted by one of our oldest and dearest clients, whose garden is now more than 15 years old. Their nine acre, “New World Cottage” style property was featured on the cover of James van Sweden’s book Architecture in the Garden (with illustrations on pages 50 to 65). In March, the property suffered from the “winter hurricane” that devastated the southern New England coastline and they lost 12 enormous trees including a 48’ towering Red Oak and a “Rockefeller” Christmas tree that was 90′ tall.
The downed trees opened a view of a neighbor’s house, so our task was to restore privacy. Most of the damage was confined to an area of the property that really had not been a focus before and we used this as opportunity to reclaim this section and create a woodland valley of ferns in addition to the functional task of screening a neighbor. Large, full specimen, 24′ high American Holly and a Maakia Amurensis/Amur Cork tree were placed.
In addition, we updated the entire garden, adding shade plants where trees had grown, fine tuning the kitchen garden and the rock garden, and planting an Acer Triflorum/Three Flower Maple in the secret garden off the master suite.
The garden was ‘reborn’ and looks great. In the words of our clients, “Just arrived today for the summer. It is MAGIC! I am full up from the variety of beauty. There are no words except, of course-thank you!”