My husband Mike and I have lived in Montclair, N.J. since the mid-1980s. We think our town has some of the most beautiful private gardens in Northern New Jersey. We have an active Garden Club, many resident members of the Essex County Master Gardeners, graduates of the garden certification programs at the N.Y. Botanical Garden as well as practicing professionals who are landscape architects, garden designers and, so important too, amazingly talented amateur gardeners. Yes, many residents create and maintain gorgeous gardens around their homes.
One highly anticipated event that occurs during our town’s annual May in Montclair extravaganza is a self-guided Roses to Rock Gardens Tour. A two-day opportunity to visit seven or so of some of the finest private gardens in the area, the tour is also a fund raiser for the Van Vleck House and Gardens, which features (I kid you not) a 72-year-old Chinese Wisteria that climbs two doric columns on the house’s back terrace and many rhododendron hybrids developed by Howard Van Vleck. In May when the wisteria is blooming I think I died and went to heaven: the view is breathtaking and the scent is divine.
Roses to Rock Gardens is a terrific way to see how Northern N.J. gardeners use locally sourced plant materials to create garden vistas and views in their front and back yards. And it’s fun to see how different folks create their own unique hardscapes! I love nothing better than a well-laid path and a pretty patio. How about you?
The tour is one way I get inspiration to create my own perfect oasis at home. For example, I adore fountains. I saw a version of tall, dark and handsome on an earlier Roses to Rock Gardens Tour and ended up getting a fountain of my very own because I fell in love with the one I saw in a local front yard. Where do you find your garden inspiration?
Sometimes what sparks my interest and imagination is a detail, like this:
And sometimes the design that makes my heart go pitta pat is much, much larger.
What do you think about me tucking a bed under my pergola in the near future?
Sounds outrageous? It isn’t. Well, at least not to me!
Happy Spring, my friends!