The Jaeger Company Recognized for Reynolda Gardens Restoration

The Jaeger Company recently received The Legacy Award from the Georgia Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). This award recognizes "a distinguished landscape architecture project completed 15 years or more ago that retains its original design integrity and contributes significantly to the public realm of the community in which it is located."

Located in Winston-Salem, N.C., Reynolda Gardens is part of the RJ Reynolds Estate, which was developed between 1906 and 1924. It is one of the few estates created in the South during the Country House Era (1890-1940), in which many American industrialists created large estates where their families could enjoy clean air, healthy food and leisure activities. The conservatory and original formal gardens were originally designed by Louis L. Miller in 1913 and later redesigned by landscape architect Thomas W. Sears. The property was managed by Katharine Smith Reynolds, the wife of Richard Joshua Reynolds.

Occupying approximately four acres, the Formal Gardens feature a Lord and Burnham conservatory flanked by three growing houses. A small greenhouse, hotbeds and heated cold frames provided addition space for growing plants, which were both displayed in the gardens and sold to the public. The Sears plan for the Sunken Greenhouse Gardens (1917) included four themed gardens: a pink and white garden, a blue and yellow garden, and two rose gardens. They also featured specimen trees, a central lawn, perennial and shrub borders, two fountains, pergolas and Japanese-style tea houses. The Fruit, Cut Flower and Nicer Vegetable Garden (1921) continued the Japanese-style design theme. This section was divided into a series of beds and borders separated by crushed-gravel paths and post-and-rail fences.

By the early 1990s, the garden plantings had shown considerable decline and the infrastructure had become unsafe. This is when The Jaeger Company, a landscape architecture and historic preservation firm based in Gainesville, Ga., was called in to help with the restoration. The construction and initial planting phase was completed in 1997 and still retains its integrity--which can be seen in these photos taken for the firm in October 2014. 

The garden is currently owned by Wake Forest University and is open to the public for enjoyment. Congratulations to Dale Jaeger and everyone at The Jaeger Company who worked on this project.

From the Archives: Hestercombe Gardens

A number of years ago, I traveled to England with my good friend, landscape architect Jeni Webber. Our rather ambitious goal, as I recall, was to visit 20 classic gardens in 10 days. No doubt, we did not do any of them justice--though it was a great introduction to English gardens and we had a delightful trip. There was still time at the end of each evening to unwind at a local pub for a recap of the day's discoveries.

 Hestercombe House Formal Garden. Taunton, Somerset, England. Photo ©Lee Anne White.

Hestercombe House Formal Garden. Taunton, Somerset, England. Photo ©Lee Anne White.

While all of the gardens were impressive, my hands-down favorite was the formal, sunken garden at Hestercombe House in Somerset. A collaboration between architect Edward Lutyens and garden designer Gertrude Jekyll, this garden was commissioned in 1903. Lutyens and Jekyll often worked together. Most often, he designed the house and she designed the gardens. At Hestercombe, Lutyens's focus was the structure and construction of the garden, which was terraced and contained steps, long walls and multiple water features (wall fountain, tiered fountain and runnels). Jekyll, who was a master of both color and working with herbaceous perennials, focused on the extensive plantings. It has been described as the height of their collaboration on more than 100 projects.

A Moment in the Garden

Like any good gardener, I’ve been keeping my eyes on the weather. Heavy rains headed this way: 2 to 4 inches, flood watch. That’s when it occurs to me I have maybe an hour or so to photograph my spring garden before the rain batters the Lady Banks rose and azaleas. The irises just started blooming yesterday, but they won’t hit their stride until after this storm system passes.

Photo ©2010 Lee Anne White.

My garden is sort of on the wild side. It was designed that way, as I adore meadows and wanted to capture that spirit. And, admittedly, I haven’t kept up with the maintenance quite the way I’d like. The garden is now 10 years old, so the evergreens and shrubs have filled out (some much larger than anticipated) and many of the perennials have come and gone. That’s the natural order of things. In the early years, the perennials shine. As the garden matures, the woody plants take their place as the stars in the garden. The temperamental plants disappear over the course of summer droughts, soggy winters, record lows and late cold snaps. The stubborn, persistent plants spread their roots to fill the gaps. And the garden takes on a life of its own.

In all its wildness and weediness, and despite the puzzled looks of visitors who have never seen a fall foliage garden in the South, I love my garden. I stripped the sod by hand, tucked each and every plant into the soil, and have tended them (more or less, mostly less) over the years. It may not be exactly what I envisioned back in 2000. But then again, maybe it’s more.

All photos ©2010 Lee Anne White. All rights reserved.



Snow Days

We don't get much snow in Georgia. When we do, it's usually mixed with sleet or ice, and it rarely lasts long enough to take photographs. But every few years, we'll have a beautiful snow, like we did last night. And I can slip out into my garden just long enough to grab a few shots before the clumps of snow begin to melt and fall off the trees.

 

 

All photos ©2010 Lee Anne White.

Winter...A Time for Rest

I'm teaching at the Southern Gardening Symposium at Callaway Gardens this weekend. Yesterday, I was out scouting potential shooting locations. It was a peaceful day in the garden--overcast, quiet, still. Thanks to the hard freezes we've had recently, there weren't any vegetables growing in Mr. Cason's Vegetable Garden, but I enjoyed my visit in that part of the garden anyhow. It felt more like a working farm, and the way a farm should feel in winter. And that suited me just fine.

Mr. Cason's Vegetable Garden in Winter, Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, GA. Photos ©2010 Lee Anne White. All rights reserved.

Reflecting on Water

I'm fine-tuning a talk on "Integrating Water in the Garden" for next week's Southern Gardening Symposium at Callaway Gardens. In particular, I'm working on my introductory and closing remarks, trying to set the mood for the presentation. So I'm sitting here at my desk listening to meditative music with the sounds of water: waves gently rolling ashore, gurgling brooks, rain on a tin roof. I'm thinking of my earliest experiences with water: feeding the goldfish in my grandmother's pond, paddling a canoe down the Chestatee River, watching the sun set over Lake Lanier, diving into crashing waves at the beach, listening to the rain fall on the cabin roof at summer camp.

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of writing and photographing the Water Garden Idea Book, which was published by Taunton Books. The best part of that project was discovering the ingenious ways designers and gardeners had worked water into their landscapes. Some were as simple as a small, water filled basin tucked into a border. Others dazzled the eye and mind--water stairs, sculptural wall fountains and more. Here are a few that I especially enjoyed.

Design: The Fockele Garden Company. Photo ©2009 Lee Anne White

Design: (left) Clemens & Associates, (right) Steve Martino & Associates. Photo ©2009 Lee Anne White.

Design: Rich Ferraro. Construction: Red Rock Pools & Spas. Homeowner: Dan & Paulette Campbell. Photo ©2009. Lee Anne White.

Design: Robin & Paul Cowley. Photo ©2009 Lee Anne White.

Design: (left) JC Enterprises Inc., (right) Clemens & Associates. Photos ©2009 Lee Anne White.

Design: Jack Chandler. Photo ©2009 Lee Anne White.

Design: Clemens & Associates. Photo ©2009 Lee Anne White.

Design: The Fockele Garden Company. And yes, the one of the left is manmade. Photos ©2009 Lee Anne White.

Design: Ben Page, Jr.  Photo ©2009 Lee Anne White.

Design: (left) Red Rock Pools & Spas, (right) Scott Melcher.

Design: Stone Forest, Inc.  Photo ©2009 Lee Anne White.

Design: Robin & Paul Cowley. Photo ©2009 Lee Anne White.

The Hand of the Gardener

I often speak of showing "the hand of the gardener" in photographs. What I usually mean by this is conveying a sense of the gardener in the photograph, whether by including a garden element that helps reveal the gardener's personality or perhaps something "left behind" like a trowel, basket or coffee cup. In this case, the meaning is more literal, as I actually show the hands of the gardener. Dr. David Bradshaw, a horticulture professor at Clemson University, shows us some dried velvet beans (not edible) along with the foliage of a growing velvet bean plant in the University's heirloom vegetable garden.

Velvet beans, which were introduced in the late 1800s and once covered nearly a million acres of the South, were useful as a source of nitrogen, as feed for cattle and for erosion control. More recently, they have been recognized as valuable for nematode control.

 Photo ©2007 Lee Anne White. Photographed at Clemson University.

Fill the Frame

Closer isn't always better, but it's usually worth checking out. It forces you to look not only at the subject, but also its shape and how it works within the camera frame. In other words, it encourages you to think as a visual designer, not just as a gardener or horticulturist. By moving in close, we get to experience the intimate details of this lotus (Nelumbo 'Mrs. Perry D. Slocum'). And graphically, the image benefits as much from the negative space (the green, leafy areas surrounding the petals) as it does from the flower filling the frame and "bleeding" off all four sides.

Photo ©2008 Lee Anne White. Photographed at Longwood Gardens.

Choose a Dramatic Angle

It's a natural tendency to photograph a garden from eye level. But the most interesting images are often taken from other angles. In the case of these sunflowers, I set the camera up low and shot toward the sky--which, fortunately, was very blue this day. This helped emphasize the height of the plant and convey its habit of reaching skyward.

These are cutleaf coneflowers (Rudbeckia laciniata 'Herbstsonne') photographed at Longwood Gardens. Easy-to-grow perennials, they reach 4 to 7 feet tall and bloom June through August. Give them plenty of sun or they'll need staking.

Photo ©2008 Lee Anne White. All rights reserved.

Move in Close

My favorite shots are often the simplest shots. Those where I can move in very close to my subject and just focus on the details that give it character. That was the case with this hedgehog plant (Agave stricta). Aptly named, I was first drawn to this plant not for the planting combination, flower, or shape of the plant, but for the spike-like foliage that does, truly, remind me of a hedgehog.

Photo ©2008 Lee Anne White. All rights reserved. Photographed at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Don't Overlook the Details

Whether you're setting an outdoor table or photographing it, don't overlook the details. As for setting the table, think layers--placemats, chargers, plates, something on the plates (whether napkins or a bundle of fresh herbs) glasses and something to give the setting some height.

And when it comes to photographing an outdoor dining area, shoot more than the table or outdoor room. Move in close and capture some of the details that give the setting personality.

 

Photos ©2008 Lee Anne White. Design: Frances Dixon.

Reflections and Recycled Glass

I'm not sure which I like better: recycled glass tiles or their reflection in water. Recycled glass tiles are a durable, beautiful and sustainable building material made from silica sand and up to roughly 85% recycled glass. It is an excellent material for bathrooms, kitchens, pools and spas. Here it is used in a swimming pool by the designers at Da Vida Pools in Austin, TX.

A tip for those interested in photographing reflections: Use a polarizing filter. While we often think of using a polarizer to knock the reflection or glare off of metal, glass or water, it can also be used to enhance reflections and saturate colors. The beauty of a circular polarizing filter is that what you see is what you get. It is a double-glass filter, and you simply turn the outer ring until you get the results you like.

Photo ©2008. Lee Anne White. All rights reserved. Design: Da Vida Pools.

Use White Wisely

The whitest or brightest spot in any photograph will always command the most attention. It's where your eye will always settle. When it is a stray flower, litter, a plastic chair or other insignificant object, it can ruin an otherwise stunning photograph. So use white wisely--intentially making it the focal point of your photograph or allowing it to help direct the eye around the image or toward a focal point.

This carefully tended English-style garden surrounds a pool in Connecticut. White coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan') are the stars of the garden.

Photo ©2008 Lee Anne White. All rights reserved.

Capture the Gesture of Plants

Like people, plants convey a sense of gesture. For instance, these dogwood blossoms looked to me as if they were "dancing" in the wind. So I moved in close with a macro lens to fill the frame with petals facing different directions--but not so close as to crop out that sense of direction or movement. Giving them a little breathing space or "face room" was important as well.

Photo ©2007 Lee Anne White. All rights reserved. Cornus florida 'Decker' photographed at Yew Dell Gardens, Kentucky.

Cool Pool

I spent much of last summer photographing pools and spas. This one, designed by Jamie Scott of Groupworks, Inc., is located near Fishkill, NY. Very contemporary with clean lines, it features an infinity (vanishing) edge; a raised, stained-concrete spa with a 360-degree overflow and runnel; underwater benches and a pavilion.

 

 

 

Photos ©2008 Lee Anne White. All rights reserved. Design: Groupworks, Inc.

Colorful Spring Combo

I love photographing great plant combinations. Those that I find most appealing feature harmonious color schemes or contrasting foliage textures. This spring planting by Atlanta gardener Ann Sheldon works on both counts, though it's clearly the color that catches your eye initially.

Planted in what is sometimes referred to as the "hell strip" between the sidewalk and street, where it could be enjoyed by neighbors out on their daily walks, this cheerful combination features Tulipa 'Menton', Phlox divaricata, Ornithogatum umbellatum, Papaver somiferum (foliage only) and Hosta.

Photo ©2007 Lee Anne White. All rights reserved. Design: Anne Sheldon.

Zinnia 'Zowie! Yellow Flame'

This striking annual adds a bright splash of color to the garden. A 2006 All-America Selection winner, Zinnia 'Zowie! Yellow Flame' features multiple layers of yellow-tipped reddish petals surrounding a central red and yellow cone. The petals are pinkish-magenta when they open, but gradually turn to a strong red.

The plants are 30-36 inches tall and 24-27 inches wide and are among the easiest annuals to grow from seed. Cut the flowers frequently, as they make excellent cut flowers for arrangements, and cutting them back will quickly produce new buds.

Photo ©2008 Lee Anne White. All rights reserved. Photographed at Park Seed Company.

Cowley Garden Featured on Tour

Robin and Paul Cowley's Oakland garden will be featured on the 2009 Ups & Downs of Hillside Gardening Tour on April 18-19. This stunning garden features an assortment of water features--from simple basins and bubbling fountains to a naturalistic koi pod and an ingeniuos bog with floating steps. Paul is a landscape architect and owner of Potomac Waterworks, a firm specializing in the design and construction of water features. Robin is a talented fiber artist, whose eye for texture is evident in the garden's plantings. Together, they have created a garden filled with imagination and ideas. Their home and studios will also be on tour.

Tour hours are Saturday, April 18, from 11 am - 4 pm, and Sunday, April 19, from 10 am - 5 pm. There are eight gardens on the tour, which benefits the Hillside Gardeners of Montclair. For ticket information, call 510-530-1681 or email HgmGardens@gmail.com.

All photos ©2007 Lee Anne White. All rights reserved. Garden design: Paul & Robin Cowley, Oakland, CA.