The Coffey Specimen Garden was literally carved out of a mountainside. This steep, no-mow garden is filled with colorful pollinator and native plants, interspersed with specimen ornamental shrubs and trees. Water runoff was a major problem on this property from an upslope water tank that flushes its pipes nightly. A large dry creek bed was created to manage the run off, and the wetness of the area was used for rhododendron and other shade and moisture-loving shrubs. While only three years old, this garden appears more mature as hundreds of plants were moved from the owner’s former garden at White Gate Inn. The Coffey Garden keeps bees in the lower section.
The Breck Terraced Garden, nestled in an old north Asheville neighborhood, also struggled with water and slope issues, as well as a massive overgrowth of ivy. Vegetables are a major focus of this garden and terracing allowed the creation of ample beds for vegetables and small fruits. Water runoff from an adjacent road was moderated by the creation of a berm planted with native shrubs to stabilize the slope and absorb water. A rain garden was also installed.
The Cole Cottage Vignette Garden, also in north Asheville, showcases a series of twelve garden rooms tucked away beneath mature trees and along winding paths. At every turn, another vignette awaits the wanderer. The garden offers views and vistas, art and humor, a labyrinth, a cozy secret garden, and a newly established moss garden. There’s a play area for children and a fire pit with water feature for adults. Art is carefully placed to add interest and to draw the eye through the garden. This two-acre garden evolved, one garden room at a time, among dense trees and overgrown shrubs that hid stone walls below the house. Chickens and bees are kept on this property.
The Harter Tree Garden straddles a ridge of mature oaks at an elevation of approximately 2400 feet, just east of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The owner has a fascination with trees and has, in effect, created his own private arboretum. In addition to the mature canopy trees that were on the property when the home was completed in 1999, hundreds of understory trees and shrubs, both evergreen and deciduous, have been added to the landscape, including over 30 varieties of Asian maples, a number of dwarf conifers, and other ornamentals.
The Ramsey Whimsy Garden, in southeast Asheville, is described by its owner as combining the practical with the whimsical. The owner is an artist and a writer and has expressed her creativity in colorful beds filled with perennials, a dye garden, an herb garden, and a large vegetable garden. Her husband has built many structures for the garden, including a garden shed from repurposed materials and a three-story tree house. There is a stream with a waterwheel plus a water ram that pumps water up to the garden without electricity. This garden will be in the August issue of Southern Living magazine.
The Kosma Meditation Garden, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, is hidden behind a sedate Georgian house. While the owner calls her garden a “wild preserve,” visited by deer, bears, turkeys, and other wildlife, the mood is serene and reflective. To enter the garden, you pass through an arch and walk down a moss-strewn path lined with hostas. There are dozens of native hollies, giant poplars, and bird and butterfly gardens. The garden is designed for low maintenance, with a no-mow lawn, and seems to invite peaceful contemplation. There are three seating areas where one may sit to rest and meditate. A slow-moving creek adds to the peaceful mood.