Starting almost twenty years ago as a rocky hillside that was mostly lawn, Jade Hill has grown into a stroll garden designed to be a tapestry of texture and color. Favorite plants went in first: Japanese maples, dwarf blue spruce and other conifers, lady-slipper orchids, and a bamboo grove. Innumerable wheelbarrows of compost and mulch (wheeled uphill!) helped create beds of shrubs and perennials; hand-dug pools were put in for goldfish and lotus. The main bed along the driveway is anchored by golden barberries and purple smoke trees (coppiced each year) – with roses, peonies, Siberian Iris, phlox and other perennials filling in – and backed by a Purple Fountain weeping beech.

Jade Hill borders the wetlands that were once Lake Amenia, and our property is on the site of what was intended to become a lakeside community consisting of dozens of 80’x100’ lots. Over the years we were able to acquire some of the adjacent parcels, which quickly became new garden rooms. One addition was the rose garden, with about 30 varieties of hardy roses. Another was a gold-themed garden, viewed from a cantilevered “Oriental” pavilion meant to show off carved wood window panels purchased at a flea market years ago.

After straight-line winds took down half a dozen major trees in a squall late last summer, a good part of this garden has just been replanted – from a shade to a sun garden. A chance for some new plants resulted in a columnar katsura, weeping blue spruce, and golden-foliaged varieties of hardy winter hazel, Caryopteris, and Metasequoia.