Today we’re seeing a beautiful garden created by Syd Carpenter. We’ve visited her home garden before (Last Summer in Syd Carpenter’s Garden), and today she is sharing a cool project she recently completed.
I am a sculptor and a gardener. Gardening plays a very large part in my art, and my own garden has been an endless source of form for my sculptures. Last year I, along with my husband, Steve Donegan, also an artist, was invited by the Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia to design a garden in an underutilized area of the museum grounds. The emphasis on the development of this garden was on sustainability, with use of on-site materials a priority. It was suggested that I might create a “hugel,” which is German for mound or hill. It is an ancient raised-bed technique that makes use of fallen trees and other compostable materials. Fortunately, there were several fallen trees available for the project. My design includes two curving hugels that undulate across the site, surrounded by a pattern of log tiles. Each hugel is about 45 feet in length, with a maximum height of just under 6 feet at the highest point. The plants I selected are drought tolerant, deer and rabbit resistant, and have four seasons of interest.
The mounded soil is built up over stacked logs, and here some of the logs were left exposed to show how the hugels were built.
Log tiles form the pathway around the hugels.
Here’s how the hugels began, with putting in the logs and other base materials.
The hugels built and newly planted.
The log tiles going into place.
Rich pink flowers of Double Play spirea (Spiraea japonica, Zones 3–8).
The height of the hugels allows layers of plants to be displayed without the ones in front obscuring the ones in the back. At the top of the mound, a big clump of borage (Borago officinalis, annual) with blue flowers makes the mount feel even taller.
A final view of this inspiring planting. I love that they used fallen trees to create something exciting and beautiful.
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