Garden elements, create the structure of the garden, but it’s the plantings – their texture, color, shape, and life – that breath true beauty into the garden.  Here are the cultivated plants (and animals) that are the essence of what these gardens are about.

See them all, plus 6 more, this weekend at Beyond the Garden Gates garden tour or private (and a couple public) gardens in downtown Frederick, Maryland.

Beyond the Garden Gates tour:  May 20-21

Chartreuse & co May tag sale and Art in the Barn: May 18-21

Make a weekend of it!

The front garden of the Kettlestrings home is one of texture and low mantenance. These winter-hardy succulents, in this variegated green and red, are a perfect example.

Another planting from the Kettlestrings front garden. Note how perfectly this more traditional planting echoes the colors of the succulents in the prior photo.

There aren’t a lot of flowering plants in this front garden, so this iris really made a show.

A broader view of the Kettlestrings front garden, including the structure of the house itself.

It was raining the day I visited, and the stunning peonies were drenched, and dropping from the downpour. But look at what a fabulous pop of color they are!

The peonies.

The diminutive size of these flowers, and the shape of the shrub are lovely here against the brick wall.

The color of this spruce meshes perfectly with the brick. It’s a living sculpture.

Sunlight is at a premium in “the woods” of the Kettlestrings back yard. But these rhododendrons have found just enough to bloom…

The Kettlestrings sweepping back border of evergreen “woods” and shady perennial under-plantings.

The previous owner (the Kettlestrings have been in their home for over 17 years) had been an avid gardener, but it had been left untended for a number of years when Patty and her family arrived. This stunning shrub is just one of the exceptional plants she uncovered while reclaiming the garden.

These shade-loving hostas will bloom nicely later this year, but were stunning as they glisten in the rain.

The path leading into “the woods”

Note the complementary textures in this grouping

I love the sculptural effect of this pine tree.

Both the Kettlestrings and the Roy gardens have been Bay Wise certified. One is ornamental, the other is agricultural. Both are environmentally healthy.

First of all, I love the paint scheme of the Irwin house. AND, I love how the plantings complement it in shape and hue. The shrub and ground cover look almost painted on, and reflect the clean lines of the house as they give texture to the view.

Across from the Irwin garden is this view – I love the balance here of evergreen shrubs with the flowering azaleas. The contrast against the dark wood of the house makes the whole front garden pop.

The Roy garden is a very practical one. Yet the beauty of the plantings, and, actually, their concept, is inspiring.

Here in the Roy garden ‘volunteers’ mingle with the intentional plantings. Anything edible and positive that drops in on the garden is welcome.

Start them young! The littlest Roy helps in the garden, and from this early age understands where her food comes from, and what it takes to grow it.

As dandelions are edible – flowers and leaves – the Roys enjoy them rather than being tasked by them.

These pretty flowers will become fresh strawberries later this spring.

The veins of purple on this kale (or cabbage?) is an astonishingly beautiful color. And with the raindrops makes such a lovely photograph, don’t you think?

Accommodation of the vines is simple and effective.

Wood chip paths are practical and attractive.

And what garden is complete without a few birds? These young chickens will provide the Roy family with eggs throughout the year.

Be sure to get your tickets now.  The tour of these and many other private gardens is happening this weekend, May 20-21.  Beyond the Garden Gate garden tour.  And Chartreuse & co is OPEN this weekend, too:  May 18-21.  Make a weekend of it!  Hope to see you soon.

Thanks for reading,