The Landscape Designer’s Group met together with the James Renwick Alliance members in June to tour the garden of the Ash family in Great Falls, VA. We were met by Ali Ash who directed the traffic and parking and Ellen Ash, along with Elizabeth Doyle from Yankee Clippers, to talk about the property. Ellen explained that they bought the property in 1977 and built the house in 1981. The house was designed as a contemporary rambler. She said she grew up in a Manhattan apartment with only a few potted plants. With her new property she became more interested in what she could do in the garden as well as became a lover of all kinds of plants – evident in her perennial garden which has numerous species. She does most of the gardening herself, and has developed the design over time with help from a horticultural friend who she can ask questions of. She and her husband collect all their leaves in one area in the fall, and use them during the year to mulch the beds. She has collected many pieces of art over the years from various places – Torpedo Factory, Shedoni outside Santa Fe, places in Carmel, CA, and American Craft in Baltimore. She also has collected what she termed as “junk”, all kinds of garden ornaments that are located throughout the gardens. Cats and white bunnies are a few of her favorite themes. The extent of the garden was breathtaking and provided a new view and whimsical sites at every turn. Instead of explaining it in words I can best show it through photos and there were infinite photo opps throughout!
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