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Posts Tagged ‘garden’

At one of Oehme, van Sweden’s current residential projects on the Northern Neck of Virginia, a meadow of native Bluestem grasses, goldenrod and other wildflowers dressed in rich autumnal golds, oranges, and browns meets an existing cordgrass marsh. The 12-acre peninsular estate juts into the Potomac River near its confluence with the Chesapeake Bay. Dale Overmyer Architects’ contemporary “Oyster House” residence is accessed by a long boardwalk that stretches above a natural tidal pool. Few trees remain on this former agricultural land, and OvS is overseeing an extensive native meadow and forest restoration.

Northern Neck Landscape

Photograph by Larry Weaner Landscape Associates

Earlier this week, OvS Principal Sheila Brady and Associate Marisa Scalera enjoyed a beautiful fall day laying out willow trees, rugosa roses, wax myrtle, and live plants in a seeded, designed meadow with crews from Walnut Hill Landscape Company (landscape contractors) and Larry Weaner Landscape Associates (meadow consultants and contractors). Next week, they return to layout an additional 18,000 native grasses and perennials.

Meadow Plants

Laying out meadow plants with Larry Weaner’s crew

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The redesigned Azalea Garden at the New York Botanical Garden is scheduled for a Grand Opening May 7-8, 2011, just in time for Mother’s Day.

Sheila Brady and Hilary Oat-Judge recently spent two days at the garden with Todd Forrest, Kristin Schleiter and Travis Beck of NYBG laying out some of the final herbaceous plantings in preparation for the Grand Opening.

Azalea Garden New York Botanic Garden

From left: Travis Beck, Kristin Schleiter, Hilary Oat-Judge, Sheila Brady

Oehme, van Sweden has had the pleasure of collaborating with NYBG’s Horticulture team over the past few years to develop herbaceous planting plans to extend the garden’s season of interest beyond the peak azalea bloom time. The incredible topography of the site, dramatic rock outcroppings and towering canopy provide a captivating framework for the azaleas. By introducing a textured perennial layer, the new design will draw visitors in to explore the Azalea Garden throughout the year.

Mark your calendars to visit the Azalea Garden when it reopens in all its glory this May!

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Oehme, van Sweden was again praised in the blog-o-sphere for our work at Conerstone Sonoma in California, a self-described “collection of shops, wineries and a gourmet cafe set amidst nine acres of garden installations created by the world’s leading landscape architects.”

Cornerstone Sonoma

The Garden of Contrasts at Cornerstone Sonoma

Designed by Founding Principal James van Sweden and Partner Sheila Brady, The Garden of Contrasts at Cornerstone Sonoma is a study in contrasts and ephemeral impressions. The geometric framework of the garden is a circle bisected with a diagonal hedge of rosemary that divides the garden into fields of contrasting textures, form, color and scent. A sunny ground plane of low, textural grasses is interplanted with the sculptural form of agaves and highlighted with colorful poppies. A grove of olive trees provide shade and opacity as the seasons advance, and the sculptural sphere by Grace Knowlton provides an alluring and dramatic effect. Ephemeral natural patterns of sunlight, shadow and plant texture reinforce the garden’s dynamic qualities. Seasonal change is marked as plants emerge in the spring, blossom in summer, change color in autumn and fade into dry foliage in winter.

Alice’s Garden Travel Buzz recently visited Cornerstone Sonoma, commending the OvS garden as that which ‘achieves a lovely clarity in its division of space.’ To continue reading what Alice had to say, click here.

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Recently, Oehme, van Sweden Principal Eric Groft had the pleasure of revisiting the garden of John and Regina Scully, a project he completed a few years ago. The Scully garden is located high on a Louse Point bluff looking over Gardiners Bay in Amagansett. John and Regina Scully were home having come from their native San Francisco to enjoy the fall color of eastern Long Island.

Scully Home

The Scully Home

Scully Home - View

The View Over Gardiners Bay

Scully Home - Terrace

The Terrace

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Nantucket MoorsI was recently on Nantucket installing a beautiful hillside garden overlooking Polpis Harbor in Quaise. The hillside is planted with waves of native grasses and the garden features a lower, private enclosed garden with classic Nantucket privet hedges aligned with colorful perennial boarders.

I also had fun visiting former clients in Squam and was delighted to see this mature OvS garden planted nearly ten years ago, a wonderful example of how our gardens thrive in the Nantucket landscape. Alot of the credit goes to our clients, who are so engaged with their garden. They have added wonderful new areas including an elegant barn beautifully sited in open native fields and a walled-in fruit orchard.

Nantucket MoorsWhile on Island, I also enjoyed a walk off Polpis road through the “Moors” as they are called locally. These special land preserves protected by the Nantucket Conservation Foundation and are filled with rare and endangered plants as well as beautiful windswept costal heathlands, diverse grasslands, cranberry bogs, and ground covers like huckleberry, low bush blueberry, and beach plumb.

Nantucket MoorsWalking towards Gibbs Pond was magical and absorbing … grassland walking paths lead to narrow scrub oak woodland paths that are filled with a ground plane of ferns, and wonderful narrow paths encircle the pond with quiet views across the pond textured with rushes.

The pond ,wetlands and plant communities were capturing my attention as we are in the final stages of design for the Native Plant Garden at the New York Botatical Garden. The garden features a re-circulating central water feature with innovative water retention, wetlands that will filter and cleanse the pond, and an entire spectrum of plants that grow in conditions from wet sun to dry shade, upland forest to dry meadows.

It was such an enjoyable visit to Nantucket and I look forward to returning soon!

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August’s stifling heat has some advantages – many plants have been lured by the sun into their full summer exuberance. Oehme, van Sweden staff members spent a recent lunch break basking in the sun ourselves and enjoying lush plantings at the Federal Reserve campus in Washington, DC.

The Federal Reserve was one of OvS’ earliest “big breaks” – our first large government project, designed and planted in the late 1970’s. Bold sweeps of perennials and grasses marked a striking departure from the formal style of the surrounding federal landscapes. Over the decades, Oehme, van Sweden has maintained a close relationship with the Federal Reserve and recently designed improvements for integrated perimeter site security (including custom bronze bollards, raised planters that incorporate benches and walls, pedestrian and vehicular access and circulation, and kiosk locations).

During our lunchtime tour, OvS Principal Eric Groft pointed out ways in which the new design is integrated into the original and how the integrity of the original design (including now mature canopy trees, sweeps of ornamental grasses, and robust perennials) is honored. Eric was joined by OvS Associate Marisa Scalera (who has been involved in the Federal Reserve designs since 2003) and members of the OvS design staff including Christie Ciabotti, Lisa Cutshaw, John Knowlton, Nick Ries, and Liz Stetson.

See our website for photos of our work at the Federal Reserve.

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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!”

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