Shade garden retreat |Lynne Dobson |Central Texas Gardener

Shade garden retreat |Lynne Dobson |Central Texas Gardener


>>You’ll often find this family outside. For gardener Lynn Dobson, husband Greg Wooldridge, and children Luke and Clarie, so of
their favorite rooms have living walls. [Lynne] We have about six rooms in this garden. It’s nice to have that discovery and that quietness of going through, “What am I going to see next?”>>She also sees a lot away from
home as a humanitarian photojournalist and activist for several non-profits. On her
website she documents missions in Africa
including Water to Thrive, Free Wheelchair Mission and the African
Children’s Choir. As a photographer and observer of
nature’s gift, Lynne focused on changing her yard’s boring view when they bought their house. [Lynne] This was
just a unusable. You know, you just walk
through it but you couldn’t– this wasn’t a destination. We needed some
place to come and sit. I wanted to entertain.>>Landscape architect Bill Bauer had the
answer. He removed the tense slope of grass and
layered it with walkways and a serene gravel living room. Their dog Sherman appreciates his designed too. The wall
above the living room lost a few sentinels in 2012 unusual
freeze but most made it just fine. Even though Lynne
had to figure out shade gardening that’s okay by her. [Lynne] I love these trees. and you know the red oaks are great. They’re so
dramatic the way they, you know, reach forward and I just love the way the seasons change
and I watch them from the house. I just sort of start going and mixing
and I love the different palate and the different colors that you can
incorporate and one thing leads to the next.>>She partners with designer Molly Wood
from Modern Organic Gardening for the big maintenance jobs, plant
resources and the yearly application a turkey compost for plant
help and water retention. Lynne handles the day-to-day design and
maintenance [Lynne] I like the physical act of gardening.
I like the hauling the water. I like to fertilize by
just pouring the liquid seaweed in, you know, a bucket and hauling it around and going
back. I love that. You get into a trance and that’s part of nurturing– that pouring in the water. You know, the pouring, I like that. It’s an opportunity to nurture and its
opportunity to see so many details and to take care and to notice and to appreciate the tiny miracles that
are there and to witness them and to embraced that. There are so many little encounters, little tiny encounters– even if it’s just you
know the way the rain looks on leaf, you know, look at how gorgeous that is. And to notice that and it just stop and be in peace with that one little lizard
that you might find– Claire and I, oh it’s so much fun, we used to name all the
lizards and we name the birds. And we got a lot of
birds here too– that’s part of– I love birds, my mother loved birds. I feel my mom a lot here too.>>Growing up on the Gulf Coast, she
symbolizes her mother’s love shells with a sculpture by artist Emily Hass.
Rescue cat Abby, admires it from her unique vantage point. The whole family gets the view from a safer perch upstairs. [Lynne] I’m never had a garden where you can see from above and then you walk down to where you have looked. That’s really fun. You get the opportunity to see it from different angles so as a photographer, I’m always finding different angles to shoot too. And looking
at backgrounds and looking at foregrounds and looking at everything together.>>Another angle is from close up. In Lynne’s various shady beds, she loves
structural crinum lily, which emerges quickly after a brief
winter dormancy. She include them in the side yard where she face two challenges: shade and
drainage control. One undaunted trio is ligularia, aztec grass and Japanese aralia. Rather than a tedious hedgerow she flavors things up with lots of
texture including Hoja Santa, root beer plant. [Lynne] It has those big, beautiful leaves and that whitw punctuation have that little slender bloom. And of course, it is the first one to go in the frost, you know, that is
pitiful, got there it is just gone– even when it gets to 36 or 38 it’s gone that’s okay,– it always comes back and it
spreads a little bit and there’s a lot of room back there to spread.>>To document the walkway, Lynne dipped into Greg’s bowling ball collection. [Lynne ] I love the bowling balls. They’re fun and sculptural and they, you know, withstand the weather just great we had to do that for drainage and it was boring with just the rocks for
drainage.>>She dressed up a classic mailbox to access tools and supplies midway between gardens. Their goat moves around– well like goats tend to do. Greg found it at an department store when they dismantled a display. [Lynne] And he bought and brought it home. He put it on the roof for my 40th birthday and so when people were coming over I
didn’t know it was on the roof– the porch roof, which is flat, and I was
greeting people outside and they would be hugging me and they look up when they
go, “What’s a goat doing on the roof?” And I turned around and went, “Greg strikes again.”>>Aside from the occasional goat on the roof,
in front Lynne wanted a warm welcome for her guests every day, including the wildlife. Grasses, native perennials,
and pomegranates provide structure all the time with flowers and fruit by
the season. One fall blooming favorite is forsythia sage that Lynn moved from their former garden. At the entrance, she also brought along their pindo palm. She sets it off with textual
variants and the warmth of Japanese maple. A fountain soft bubbling and a musical note. The front porch is a garden room of its own. [Lynne] It’s actually a garden table that I
found in Fredericksburg and but I put it inside my house– so I like
to do unexpected things like that put inside out and then I moved it
outside and I said. “You know, you’re supposed to be outside.” I put all my succulents there. >>Lynne is not finished yet since weather, new finds and in her latest project to remove the rest of the lawn, energized her creativity. [Lynne] It is that a unexpected thing in gardening
where you try something and then it outperforms your
expectations and then sometimes it underperforms and you just go, “Oh well.” I appreciate either outcome– you learn
from it. And then being a photographer and so
visual, I really appreciate every shape and
color and form. Gardening gives you the chance to see
that and either organizing into a symphony. I feel like gardening is a symphony, you
know, and I try to make mine a symphony because there’s lots of different things going
on and you can put something together and it can go or
not and you say,”No you don’t go,” and get out and put something that goes better– it merges into the symphony
better. That’s why I love it, it is constantly evolving. its slow-growing symphony sometimes and
sometimes it is a fast-growing, maybe invasive symphony– you know, you
plant something and you go, “That’s too much of a good thing.”

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