One of the most thrilling events on our vacation was visiting Pam Harper's garden in Seaford, Virginia. She is an award winning garden writer, photographer, and plantswoman extraordinaire. After her arrival in the United States from England in 1968, she began gardening on two acres near the tidal creeks of Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay. She has tended that garden for more than 40 years and shared her experiences through her lectures and writings. She has authored five gardening books – The Story of a Garden (1972), Perennials: How to Select, Grow and Enjoy (1982), Designing with Perennials (1991), Color Echoes (1994), Time-Tested Plants: Thirty Years in a Four-Season Garden (2000) – and earned awards from the Garden Writers Association of America and the America Horticultural Society.
In the beginning, most all of my gardening knowledge came from books and Pam Harper's books were particularly wonderful and to this day remain ones that I turn to often. She, in turn, said she learned a great deal from Elizabeth Lawrence, whose classic book A Southern Garden is one that influenced me as well.
One of my favorite Pam Harper books is her last one, Time-Tested Plants: Thirty Years in a Four-Season Garden (2000) in which she profiles plants that have performed well for her for the past 30 years. I can't tell you how many plants I've grown after reading about them in this book but one day I will do a blog post about that. Although her garden is quite a distance north of us, we are in the same USDA Hardiness zone - 7b. Her garden is on sandy soil that has been well ammended over the years so our soil types are quite different but her plant recommendations have performed excellently in our garden.
In addition to plant recommendations, Pam is well known for her striking combinations of textures and colors. Her photographs (she has a massive slide collection of over 40,000 images and is interesting in selling them) display irresistable palettes of colors combined with the artistry of a decorator.
We arrived late in the day (6-ish) and took an immediate tour of the garden. I took quite a few photos and took more again early the next morning. It was awesome recognizing scenes from her books and seeing them in person. Pam was such a delightful host, sharing stories with us about her gardening adventures, feeding us and sharing plants. I wish I was able to visit her garden in every season. It is very special and so fascinating.
Sorry for the photo-heavy post but I couldn't help myself!
|Cercis 'Silver Cloud' (Redbud) and an unknown hydrangea that came from |
a cutting at the Norfolk Botanical Garden
|Cornus kousa 'Wolf's Eyes' and Rose 'Petite Pink'|
|Eleutherococcus sieboldianus Variegatus (Aralia) and Dryopteris erythrosora (Autumn Fern)|
|Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum 'Shaina') with Spirea|
|Schizophragma hydrangeoides 'Moonlight' (Japanese Hydrangea Vine) and Rose 'Veilchenblau'|
|A spectacular rose that she did not know the name of (she received it from her hairdresser)|
Chrysogonum virginianum 'Green and Gold'
|The conifer in the center is Picea orientalis 'Skylands'|
|Cedrus deodara 'Montrose Veil' and Nandina 'Harbor Dwarf'|
|Cornus controversa 'Variegata'|
|Rose 'Graham Thomas' and Huechera 'Caramel'|
|Acer palmatum 'Crimson Queen', Miscanthus 'Morning Light', Deutzia setchuenensis var. corymbiflora (Chinese Snow Flower), Verbena 'Snowflurry'|
|Michael and I loved this clematis named 'Princess Diana'. Pam said that it was a very |
good performer in her garden.
|Bletilla striata (Chinese Ground Orchid) - We grow this in our garden but it doesn't look this good!|
|Pam has many varieites of clematis in her garden and she lets them mingle into other plants. 'Princess Diana' clematis grows next to the rose 'Red Cascade'|
|Spigelia marilandica (Indian Pink)|
|Physocarpus 'Coppertina' (Ninebark) - The color was electric. |
Another plant to add to my wish list!
|The chartreuse plant with the purple blooms is Tradescantia 'Sweet Kate' (Golden Spiderwort) - we bought one of these at Plant Delights.|
Out Trip Itinerary