David Sabio has created a slice of heaven at his North Carolina home. It's built on a backbone of sturdy shrubs with a dazzling icing of hardy perennials. How? In his own words:
“My wife and I bought our 1-acre home in 2001 in a little neighborhood just outside Raleigh, North Carolina. The front was all grass and the back was awesomely wooded, but a complete mess, almost impossible to walk through. I planted my first Japanese maple in the front yard, and little by little we began to remove more of the grass in favor of beds and much more interesting plants.
I consider myself a bit of a rogue gardener. I don’t follow many design rules or plan too terribly much other than what my wife and I find attractive, and certainly what Mother Nature says will or will not grow. I have transplanted so many plants for various reasons you’d think I enjoyed it as some esoteric botanical ritual. But it is a living work of art and therefore always changing. And so, before long we realized the yard was definitely more of a garden, and thus “The Yarden” was born.”
Over the years, the garden has truly become a 365 display, as there is always something performing, which makes each daily stroll always unique, and a pleasant reminder of what all our hard work has provided us.”
So, readers, his advice can be summarized as follows. No yard is “impossible”, plant what you love, don’t be afraid to make a few mistakes! Here are more images from his amazing garden.
A ribbon of burgundy and other dark foliage runs through this entire garden and as always, textures rule. Here the Crimson Queen Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Crimson Queen’) with its low-branching, dwarf tree with a delicate, weeping form takes center stage. Its foliage holds its beautiful crimson color throughout summer and can turn bright scarlet in autumn. That’s bald cypress in the background in back of a stand of Double Knock Out® Rose.
In this graceful setting, five very different types and textures shrubs just seem to fit together. Spring blooming Philadelphus (mock orange) shines amidst this grove of Chamaecyparis obtusa (false cypress). Also containing Nandina domestica ‘Fire Power’, Cedrus atlantica ‘Horstmann’ (Horstmann blue atlas cedar), and ‘Green Giant’ arborvitae.
Stones (some found on the property, others gathered from adventures far afield) are a repeated motif in this garden. The repetition of this helps to tie together all of the different "rooms." And a few personal ornaments infuse even more personality.
To close out this mini-tour, let’s give David the last word. “The Japanese maples are my favorites, as they are the darlings of the garden. There are currently eighty distinct cultivars throughout. But I am pretty kooky for clematis and dahlias too. It’s the astilbes that charm my wife. But we really just love plants. Variety is paramount.”