“The owner’s first mixed border was developed in the pergola garden with the ornamental Bradford pear hedge as a backdrop. Her favorite colors–pink, fuchsia, lavender, and blue–can be seen in veronica, betony, delphinium, and cosmos. Artemisia (A. ludoviciana ‘Silver King’) is peppered throughout.” Given the choices as to which feature image (above) to select for today’s post, I couldn’t resist this one. Especially when coupled with the author, Ben Lenhardt, Jr’s quote from his new book, Gardens of the North Shore of Chicago. What a wealth of horticultural delight is available from this part of our great country.
And what pleased and impressed me the most was the number of houses and gardens that have been lovingly tended by new owners who honored the fine design work that was often created as far back as the early 1900s. A selection among the many in this category is Camp Rosemary (an affectionate name given to the house by the owner whose restoration construction crew were camped out on the lawn for their lunchtime).
What a scrumptious setting! From the thyme garden, straight bent lawn stripes extend to a generous curve of pink roses and an antique urn overflowing with pink geraniums and white geraniums.
One of that era’s noted landscape talents, Rose Standish Nichols, established many of the gardens whose” bones” survive today. Other noted designers over the years have also been asked to contribute to the many garden rooms at Camp Rosemary–including Craig Bergmann, Frank Mariani, Clifford Miller, Deborah Nevins, and Rosemary Verey. But it is the owner, whom Ben has described as a “garden-conductor,” who is truly responsible for shepherding into existence one of the most exquisite English-style gardens in America.
As Ben observed, “her ideas and vision for colors, plant combinations, structure, and whimsical touches are the keys to this jewel.” I’m sure you’ll agree as we stroll through Camp Rosemary.
Modeled after those at Dumbarton Oaks, broad grass steps, create an impressive entrance to the walled garden.
In this walled garden, several varieties of clematis scramble over brick walls that define sweeping borders filled with shrub roses, perennials, and annuals.
A beguiling ivy-clad pool pavilion overlooks the walled garden; the adjacent linden allée (on the right) is to be seen in more detail below.
Randomly placed boxwood-filled terra-cotta pots and bistro chairs, atop fine gravel, create a French atmosphere in the pleached allée.
A combination of blue and lavender perennials and annuals, with white and lavender roses on the outer edges, fills the parterre garden.
But it is the white garden that captured my heart, with it’s intimate alcove surrounded by hydrangeas, bugbane, variegated dogwood, flowering dogwood, and perennials. I truly believe it is worth owning Gardens of the North Shore of Chicago if only to see this space in more detail.
It may come as no surprise that the proceeds from this three-years-in-the- works book go to The Garden Conservancy, of whom Ben Lenhardt, Jr. is the Chairman Emeritus. Can you imagine a lovelier gesture to the world of gardening?
All photos credit, Scott Shigley.