This tiny “secret garden” at the West Tennessee Designer Showhouse in Jackson, Tenn., was designed by Rita Randolph of Randolph Greenhouse.
Creating a cozy escape from the kitchen the garden is a joyous mix of greenhouse container plants, herbs and vegetables, annuals and perennials that produce a tapestry effect that will not wane all summer. Randolph repeated the tall, graceful wands of Verbascum on both sides of the walkway. The flower form is similar to Delphinium, which would melt away in our Southern summer climate. The soft mauve, pink, lavender and butter yellow flowers in this small garden blend together beautifully.
This is the same garden space but viewed from the garden bench, looking toward the garden’s exit. A bird feeding station and rustic, unglazed “house,” creates an interesting garden vignette. Double white impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) and pink/violet wishbone flowers (Torenia fournieri) softly surround the area.
A scattering of aqua tiles inside the open structure echoes the color of the orbs placed nearby. Double white impatiens, white Bacopa, pink wishbone flowers, bronze fennel and spiky cordyline complete the composition.
Beside the back door, a rustic chair that matches the garden bench is strategically placed. The chair is flanked with mixed containers including cordyline with golden oregano planted at the base, white verbena to the left, a fluffy mass of bronze Carex behind the verbena, rich pink flowering maple (Abutilon) paired with a pink flowering cigar plant (Cuphea), pink pavonia or rock rose (Pavonia lasiopetala) in a smoky blue-gray container – all restful partners in this beautiful garden scene.
Approaching the back steps, Randolph mixed a thriving patch of tiny leaf lettuces with cordyline, Verbascum, white petunias, purple verbena and yellow/orange lantana.
Along the fence separating the walled garden from the public spaces, Randolph used the following plants:
1. Salvia coccinea ‘Lady in Red’, yellow petunias (Petuniax hybrida), white verbena (Verbenax hybrida)
2. Bronze fennel (Foeniculum vulgare ‘Purpurascens’)
3. Golden oregano (Origanum vulgare ‘Aureum’)
4. Yellow petunias
6. Hybrid verbascum
7. Purple heart (Tradescantia pallida)
8. Variegated ivy (Hedera helix) and red wax-leaf begonias with wine-red foliage.
(From State-by-State Gardening June 2005. Photos by Anita Stamper.)