Archive for garden seating

Natural Rock Garden Seating

Posted in garden to visit, How to, landscape design with tags , , on August 9, 2012 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

20120805-144035.jpgNatural rock seating in the Rose and Perennial Garden at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

As I mentioned in my previous post on hydrangeas, I visited the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (CMBG) in July with Donna from Garden Walk Garden Talk. This wasn’t my first visit, and if you want to read my original post click here. This visit was more focused because I came with a mission. I am designing an island in a public road and was looking for ideas for natural rock seating.

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CMBG Lerner Garden of the Five Senses

If you are looking for ways to incorporate boulders and rocks into your garden, there is no better place to get design ideas than CMBG. The whole garden is full of gorgeous stones, most of them from Maine quarries and some found on the site. Finding stones on site is easy when you are on the Maine coast—the ground has more rocks than soil. But to create such unusual and well integrated garden seating takes talent. I want to share my photographs with you in case you are looking to create natural seating in your own garden.

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Seating in both public and private gardens should be sited in a way that directs visitors to an important view or encourages them to enjoy a new perspective while they sit. When choosing rock, I am partial to rounded boulders, fully integrated into the landscape to the point where you almost can’t see them. However, this approach would not be appropriate in a public botanical garden where you want tired visitors to be able to easily locate a resting spot. The following photos were all taken at the CMBG and show a variety of ways to use rock as garden seating:

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20120808-150327.jpgThis simple bench provides an overlook of the Slater Forest Pond, which was full of frogs and dragonflies.

20120808-150522.jpgThis is a full couch and chairs positioned along the beautiful Shoreland Trail.

All the seating shown above is quite beautiful and appropriate to the site, but I wanted to save some of my favorite designs for last:

20120808-150914.jpgThis single boulder is so well integrated into its site both by the other rocks and the sedum growing around it.

20120808-151144.jpgAgain a boulder that looks like the designers built the other hardscape around it in the Lerner Garden of the Five Senses.

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20120808-151700.jpgWhat a wonderful place to sit and enjoy the water view along the Shoreland Trail.

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20120808-152328.jpgThe rocks look like they could have just fallen into place to create this obviously comfortable “couch” in the Giles Rhododendron Garden.

20120808-152633.jpgA natural chaise lounge near the Cleaver Event Lawn and Garden.

I came away from my visit to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens with some great ideas for my road design project and with renewed respect for this wonderful Maine garden treasure.

Carolyn

Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed until the fall. Thanks for a great spring season!

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Chanticleer Part 2: Garden Seating

Posted in garden to visit, landscape design with tags , on August 8, 2011 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and phone number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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Chanticleer, near ruinA grouping of chairs in the Chanticleer garden.

Chanticleer is a very unique and intimate place in Wayne, Pennsylvania, U.S., that calls itself “A Pleasure Garden”.  In my April article of that title, I explained why that moniker perfectly describes Chanticleer.   It is a garden designed by individuals who are both artists and plantspeople.   Every plant in the garden is  placed there not only for its pleasing horticultural attributes, but also as an object in the overall design for color and pattern and to provoke a feeling or reaction in the onlooker.  Although this is a serious garden, whimsy and the element of surprise are important considerations.  And the attention to detail is amazing.

A stone armchair evocative of the Flintstones near the Ruin Garden.

Matching sofa

Stone remote

When I revisited Chanticleer recently, I realized that I could help readers understand just how unique this garden is by focusing on one element: garden seating.  In fact, no other aspect of the garden demonstrates more clearly the complex thought process that must go into each of Chanticleer’s design decisions.  Garden seating is not just for sitting, in fact, it may be primarily for viewing.  It is used to evoke feelings in the viewer, of coolness in the heat, of enclosure in open spaces, of grandeur, of restfulness, of mirth, of tradition.  It draws the eye, completes a vignette, moves you through the garden, or slows you down.  It is integrated in the landscape in a way I have never seen anywhere else.

The seating on the porch of the Chanticleer House is very traditional.  It feels as if the Rosengarten family is just around the corner.

Chanticleer has inspired me over the years to add more thoughtful resting places to my own garden and to think of every element of the garden as important, not just the plants.  I hope you too will take away some good ideas as we walk around Chanticleer together trying out the seating (and the water fountains because I love them too!).

The plantings around this bench in the entrance garden change through the year.  When I visited, they were tropical.

A sliding bench in the shade of an elaborate arbor in the Tennis Court Garden.

The seating at Chanticleer is often colorful.

It can even match the flowers.

Whimsical bench in the Vegetable Garden.

Water fountain on the path to the Ruin Garden, far right.

Detail of water fountain, incorporating the oak leaf theme of the Ruin Garden.

I feel cooler just looking at these chairs across a sea of shimmering grass below the Ruin Garden.

This secluded bench in Minder Woods is a work of art.

Overlooking the Pond Garden is a large flagstone terrace covered by an arbor sheltering shady seating–very popular on Friday evenings in summer when Chanticleer is open late for picnics.

Pond Garden

A side path in the Asian woods brings you to this seating area–there is always an elegant arrangement in the vase.

Behind this area, also in the Asian Woods, is a bamboo forest, and the chairs incorporate the motif.  The stone flower sunk in the path inspired me to place similar features at the junctures of my woodland paths.

Simple benches on the porch of the restroom in the Asian woods.

My children loved to watch the water snake out of the stone trough attached to this water fountain near the Asian Woods.

A totally different feeling is evoked by these more traditional porch chairs along the paved path up to the Chanticleer House, almost like a grandstand from which to view the action instead of retreat from it.

This photograph and the following five are all of different kinds of seating around the Chanticleer House.

The view from the rocking chairs–so peaceful.

Traditional wicker chairs near the Teacup Garden reflect the tropical feel.

Water fountain in the Teacup Garden.

Bench in secluded alcove near the Teacup Garden.

Bench in entrance area to Teacup Garden.

If you are thinking of incorporating seating into your garden, Chanticleer is the place to visit for ideas.  From simple to elaborate, from traditional to whimsical, Chanticleer has it all.

Carolyn

Notes: Every word that appears in orange on my blog is a link that you can click for more information.  If you want to return to my website’s homepage to access the sidebar information (catalogues, previous articles, etc.), just click here.

Nursery Happenings: The nursery is closed until it cools off in the fall around the middle of September.  If you are on my customer email list, look for an email.  If not, sign up by sending an email to carolynsshadegardens@verizon.net with your name and phone number.

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