An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

July 2, 2013

Private Garden Tour, Part I

     Last Thursday, a group of very generous gardeners in Virginia Beach offered to open their gardens to a van-load of people who work with me at the Norfolk Botanical Garden. Of course, my camera and I were on the van as well. Although each garden is different, they are all linked by water. Two of them are both on the same branch of the Lynnhaven River, and the other three are nearby at the oceanfront, and despite a salt-rich environment, the gardens are lush, full and colorful.

The Junkin-Nickols Garden
     This home and garden occupy a spot on a small tidal cove and is basically triangular in shape with the larger part of the garden fronting the street. Behind the house the garden narrows as it gets closer to the water, and there is a large deck made for entertaining and for taking advantage of the views. The garden is full of personal touches, many of them created by the hands-on homeowners.

Junkin-Nickols Garden (4)

Junkin-Nickols Garden (9)

Junkin-Nickols Garden (2)

Junkin-Nickols Garden (10)

Junkin-Nickols Garden (19)

Junkin-Nickols Garden (15)

Junkin-Nickols Garden (6)

Junkin-Nickols Garden (17)

Junkin-Nickols Garden (18)

Junkin-Nickols Garden (14)

Junkin-Nickols Garden (13)

The Eure Garden
     Like our first stop, the Eure garden also has many personal touches, however, as soon as we pulled in, the plant geeks on the van knew we would have a few more distractions. The front garden is mostly wooded with paths throughout.  A circular driveway leads to the front door and surrounds a small garden whose centerpiece is a large boulder that the gardener had draped with spent allium blossoms. I particularly liked how creeping fig (Ficus pumila) is used on the front steps.

Eure Garden (31)

Eure Garden (2)

Eure Garden (32)

Eure Garden (3)

Eure Garden

Eure Garden (7)

Eure Garden (10)

     The back garden is mostly lawn leading down to the river, but in the center flower-filled beds are watched over by a massive oak. Next to the house, a large deck is divided into several different spaces, and occupying a prime spot is a driftwood throne, from which the gardener may sit to survey her creation, cool drink in hand.

Eure Garden (23)

Eure Garden (22)

Eure Garden (13)

Eure Garden (18)

Eure Garden (19)

Eure Garden (15)

Eure Garden (16)

Eure Garden (20)

Eure Garden (29)

     Stay tuned, as there are still 3 more gardens to go, including my favorite.


  1. I had no idea all if this was going on in that one little view finder, Les! Gorgeous!!

  2. Though the first garden is restful, I prefer the action in the second..I would copy that F. pumila stair planting--if only I had enough stairs !

  3. I really love the first garden. All the shade plants are so well designed into the gardens. The last photo is a nice blue combo too.

  4. Lots to take in here from both gardens. I love the whimsical artistic touches in the first garden-especially the dancing frog sculpture next to the fountain and the house number collage of old garden tools and trinkets. In the second garden, it's the explosion of color in the bee garden and that fabulous deck space with a view of the water.

  5. Great fun to share these gardens through your post. There are a couple really nice ideas that you've shared here - would you mind if a "captured" the photos to put on Pinterest to remind myself about them later? (I'm thinking about the one with the white painted garden art on the wall, from the first garden, and the creeping fig on the steps from the second garden.)

  6. Oh my, I love both of these gardens. The winding walkway thru the lush grass lawn around the hosta plantings is beautiful in the Junkin-Nickols Garden. The whimsical frog spitting into the fountain is something I wish I had in my garden and makes me smile. How pretty and different is the collage of painted old garden tools mounted on the brick wall. That donkey! Please tell us the story behind that donkey.
    The Eure Garden is a feast for the eyes. Such beautiful and colorful plantings. The gardener here has an eye for filling containers with interesting combinations that makes one stop and inspect just what plants are in the pots. Your picture of the steps and sides of the foundation covered in the creeping fig is magazine worthy. I could spend hours in this garden just admiring all the beauty.
    Thanks for sharing what must have been a great day with that van full of garden geeks! Vikki

  7. I enjoyed this very much. Looking forward to the other gardens!

  8. Lovely. I love that funny frog water fountain at the first house, along with their amazing house number feature.

  9. Both are beautiful, but if I could live in one of them, it would be the second.

  10. Gorgeous gardens! Love the creeping fig on the steps and garden tool art. Wonder what it would look like unpainted? The simple cardoon and hydrangea combination in the last picture is gorgeous!

  11. That wall art is so clever and creative! I really like it you tell us your views on the gardens. They are all so different and beautiful.

  12. So much to like in the two gardens. I too like the steps in the second garden.

  13. The garden-tool-house-number combine is so clever, but also very well crafted!

    Thank you again for the tour--really enjoyed it. A bit of a shock after visiting San Francisco and seeing such radically different plant palettes--but fun.

  14. Great gardens, love the mass plantings of hostas and astibles. I would love to do that in my garden, I am sure the deer would love it! The white garden tools art piece is a great addition to a blank wall.