Holly Stickley of The White Pear, through her photographs, shares and inspires savvy small gardens, container gardening, and outdoor living.
Jennifer & George's New Corner Garden
The 'before' photo of the utility corner was very unattractive, and to make matters worse, sat adjacent to the dining area. I wanted to make this corner garden beautiful and inviting. I started the transformation by defining the area with a low boxwood hedge — Buxus sempervirens 'Suffruticosa'. The hedge gave the area a formal, elegant feel, perfect for my client's ornate black iron dining table. I added a bubble fountain for a strong focal point, and suggested that the wooden fence, that hid the air conditioner, be painted to match the house — it would then blend and virtually disappear.
Side Garden Renovation
In the 'before' photo, the straight flagstone path down the lengthy side garden made the path even longer and boring. To add more interest and beauty, we added thicker, more substantial flagstones, and placed them to curve and meander down the path, creating pockets of planting areas. And, a beautiful outdoor fireplace was built, adding a very strong focal point. I designed with all white flowers making the garden elegant and peaceful — white tulips and white alliums in the spring — white impatiens, white daisies, and white roses in the summer!
The 'before' photo shows puny white lion statues that are out of proportion to the large concrete pillars they sit on, and to the massiveness of the house. We sourced two urn shaped planters and designed the plant material — the planters are now in proportion to the house and strengthen an entry 'welcome' statement, especially important since the front door is not visible.
Jennifer and George's historic 1912 house sits on a corner and has two lengthy sidewalk planting beds that run down both streets. The 'before' photo shows planting beds with dying plants and a smorgasbord of plant material. To create beauty and sophistication, I used only three evergreen plants in repetition. In the spring, 200 red tulip blooms create excitement, color and beauty!
Stone Pot Trio
The front porch landing area was a bit boring and needed a little pizazz, but not too much — simple, elegant stone pots were sourced and designed.
Removed unwanted plant material, added new plant material, and added more of the same plant material to create better compositions.
Bruce & Maureen New Side Garden with Dry Rock Creek Bed
To address an ongoing issue of hillside springs eroding the soil down a lengthy side garden, creating a boggy muddy mess, a dry rock creek bed was designed using the French drain technique with multiple dry wells below the decorative rocks to capture the excess water. One challenge was curving the path through mature plantings in a natural manner, and carefully transplanting my client’s 10 adult blueberry bushes, which were bearing fruit at the time of the project. I incorporated new and existing plant material to design a garden alongside the dry creek. A year has passed and no more boggy muddy mess — in its place a beautiful garden!
Going over new plant material with Maureen and Bruce — one of my favorite parts of the design process.
I love springtime blooms — so fresh, lively, and luscious! And, the black stained fence really pops the color!
My 2016 Personal Garden Design
I love designing with alliums, not only for their awesome beauty, but because they bridge the gap between earlier bulbs and emerging perennials.
Coordinating colors and contrasting textures.
Originally there were two dogwood trees that sat side by side with the larger dogwood blocking the view of the front door. We removed the smaller dogwood and successfully transplanted the larger one in its place—basically switched places. Now you have a strong clear view of the front door. Four years later the garden is healthy and still looking beautiful.
In the spring, the WP maintenance crew prunes shrubs, splits perennials, plants annuals, and adds a thick layer of dark leaf debris compost to all the planting beds—feeds the plants, keeps weeds down, and conserves water. In the fall, the WP crew will do a clean-up and plant hundreds of tulip bulbs!
Tulips, Tassle Fern, Heucheras and Alliums
Andrew & Julie's New Garden with Spring Bulbs Blooming!
We safely transplanted their beautiful weeping Japanese Maple. It is now a focal point to their garden, instead of an afterthought stuck in a corner...love it!
Daffodil - Narcissus "Cheerfulness"
Hybrid Phormium, Heuchera 'Obsidian' & Lewisia. I dig the water droplets.
Heuchera 'Frosted Violet' makes a nice colorful low informal hedge.
Before photo left: Removed old rusty white shed, diseased apple tree, dated patio trellis supports, and old weedy, bumpy grass.
After photo right: Decked over cracked concrete patio, improved terrain that sloped towards the house, designed new pathways with large flagstones, new raised planting berms, and beautiful plant material.
I love the stripes the sun makes streaming through the overhead trellis — graphic & cheery! Photo by Fred Stickley
Garden Party in The Pearl
Interior designer, Julie de Jardin and The White Pear produced this garden party at The Metropolitan in the Pearl. It was a very hot day in the 90's, but it felt even hotter with the heat radiating off the concrete floor! Nonetheless, it was a lovely afternoon. We had bossa nova music wafting through the air, yummy appetizers, and vino of course. I gave a potted planting demonstration and chatted with the residents about plants and design. I did this garden party two months after heart valve surgery; I was proud of myself.
Alliums late August. I love them at this stage too. They're so papery and delicate.
Matching pots of duo chromatic plant material — makes a great statement for garden entries.
Peg's Garden in the Woods
Peg's front yard was originally lots of old weedy grass on a slope, and an assortment of mismatched plants. To bridge the slope I designed a pathway from Peg's driveway through the front yard and around to the backyard—before you had to walk across the grassy slope to the back. The pathway gives definition, a sense of purpose, and functionality. I also thought it would be lovely for Peg to have an area to relax and be 'in' her garden, and to casually invite neighbors for a chat and a glass of wine, so I designed a small sitting area just three steps below the pathway. All of this was accomplished on a small budget, but with big results.
"Peg's Blue Pot." Echeveria hybrid as the focal point for the design. I love its beautiful coloring and fleshiness; very tactile.
Rob & Duane's Agapanthus 'Midnight Blue.' Check out the candleholder, made from a piece of bamboo, topped with a glass holder — serves as a hose guide too. I love the resourcefulness!
Enkianthus campanulatus 'Red Bells' & Menton Single Late Tulips
My first attempt at vining a clematis alongside my hydrangea tree.
Giant Darwin Hybrid Tulip 'Ollioules'
One of my favorite tulips, if you can even have a favorite.