Wednesday, 19 June 2013
The French window above with its gorgeous garden view made me fall completely flat for this feature on the website of Traditional Home. Today I was working in my own humble garden (the roses in front are in bloom, yay!) in 29°C and much humidity, waiting for the right moment to call it a day; sit down with baguette and grapes and share this French inspired beauty on the blog.
In Redmont, a historic neighbourhood in Birmingham, Alabama, stands a beautiful house from 1926 that belongs to interior designer Mary Finch and her husband. They bought it back in 2004 and it was gardener Norman Kent Johnson who helped them designing the gardens, which were bare and had old and overgrown wisteria in desperate need of cutting. Before buying the house, Mary hadn't done much gardening but the property "afforded a blank canvas she couldn't resist." Because of travels to French wineries and to the Provence, French gardens were her inspiration. With pure honesty and laughter she remarks: "Perhaps the most French thing about this garden is the amount of French wine we’ve shared here."
Above you see a purple salvia and the beautiful terrace, which they use to enjoy the morning coffee while admiring the gardens and the view. Today Mary sounds like a true gardener when she says: "There's always something changing ... It's exciting to see a new leaf emerge, foliage change, or a flower about to bloom."
The flower above is a red verbena, which I have never seen before. It also goes by the name 'Voodoo Star' and attracts butterflies, birds, and bees. The flower above the red verbena is called schizanthus.
Below you see 'Purple Flame' (Cyclamen hederifolium) and cherubs in the centre of the parterre.
The view in the back is wonderful, with the terrace overlooking the parterre and the Appalachian Mountains across the valley. It was Mary and gardener Norman Kent Johnson who added the parterre, a nod to formal French design. Four urns standing in its corners mark off the parterre.
There is an open-air patio in the garden, ideal for entertaining guests, with lanterns on the dividing wall that provide a beautiful soft light in the evening.
I didn't use all the photos from the feature but I will end this post with a stone pathway and a charming wrought iron gate, which looks very French.
Jean Allsopp for Traditional Home