'Gold Cone' juniper pierces a mound of chartreuse dwarf bamboo on the pond's edge. "Chartreuse makes almost all other colors more beautiful" Donna notes.
Advice for Beginners
A popular lecturer during those rare moments when she's not tending her garden, Donna offers these suggestions for beginners.
- First, don't be afraid to rearrange things. "I always move my plants around--not necessarily because they are not doing well," Donna says. "It's just that I see a better combination."
- Second, don't be afraid of mistakes. Learn from them. "As a noted horticulturist once said, 'You don't really know a plant until you've killed it at least three times,' " she observes. "Your garden will never be perfect. It will always be a work in progress, and you can always make it better. That's the way I look at it."
- Third, plant for all seasons. "Most people get excited about gardening only in spring," she says. "That's why suburban landscapes all have the same things--forsythia, flowering cherries, and 'Bradford' pears--everything that is in bloom at the nursery on the day people go." Donna's garden, however, shines in every season. Autumn sees spectacular foliage and berry displays from crabapple, viburnum, beautyberry, and dogwood. Winter welcomes the blooms of Japanese apricot, winter hazel, and winter daphne.
Donna's Great Escape
Visitors to the garden often ask how she manages such a large landscape with only one helper. The answer is: She doesn't consider the maintenance to be work; she enjoys it. "Gardening transports you," she notes. "When I'm out there digging and planting and fine-tuning things, anything that might have been bothering me is gone." Which is why if this day ends like most others, Donna will be out playing in her garden until a chorus of crickets calls her home.