Amy Birdsong is taking us along to this beautiful garden today.
My husband and I moved our youngest back to college in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, this weekend and stayed overnight so we could visit Reynolda Gardens. This space was designed and built in the early 1900s by the Reynolds family, and much of the layout and concepts remain the same to this day. The garden is divided into two larger sections by a series of “teahouses” that provide interesting viewing angles and viewpoints to play off of. The front half holds four parterres, each with its own color scheme. The pictures primarily show the pink and white parterre and the blue and yellow parterre, which are holding up the best in this hot, end-of-summer time. How the plantings are interwoven to hide the messy or bedraggled bottoms of the flowering plants is inspiring, and they mingle to create a tapestry. Another design element that has a strong impact is gladiolus used as punctuation marks, which are mixed in among more flowy plants. What is most impressive about these formal gardens, though, is that almost all of the flowers and plants are fairly common, even to a novice like me. Zinnias, phlox, hydrangeas, cleomes, roses, impatiens, black-eyed Susans, salvias, irises, lilies, and buddleias are varieties you see at your local nursery, but the way they are mixed here is magical.
Gladiolus murielae (Zones 6–10) gives strong vertical structure to the garden. This species of gladiolus is quite different from the familiar hybrids, with an elegant presence in the late-summer garden and a wonderful fragrance, especially in the evening.
The yellow and blue planting is a magical color combination!
A beautiful cloud sweep of black-eye Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida, Zones 3–9)
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