Across The Garden Gate With Susan Haltom And A Winner

 Today I will announce the lucky winner of the giveaway – a copy of One Writer’s Garden:  Eudora Welty’s Home Place, co-authored by today’s guest, Susan Haltom.

 Many thanks to Susan for providing the signed copy of her book for one of you to win!

I am adding a little different twist with a new category – Across The Garden Gate – it will include lots of interesting conversations with different talented individuals and will highlight their walks of creativity.

Today I am talking with Susan about a recent trip she made to Washington D.C. to attend a meeting of the Eudora Welty Foundation’s National Advisory Board.  While in the city friends from Laurel, Mississippi, invited Susan and her husband out to Dumbarton Oaks Gardens…

Dumbarton Oaks gardens

Beatrix Farrand was chosen by homeowner Mildred Bliss in 1921 to design the gardens.  The two women became close friends while collaborating on the gardens- both loved to travel and read and were knowledgeable about European gardens. In designing, Farrand stuck with her mentor, Charles Sargent’s, advice “to make the plan fit the ground and not twist the ground to fit a plan”.

 Thus, the garden travels up and down hillsides with terraces…

double stone staircase

Like the Welty garden, Dumbarton Oaks is a garden design laid out in rooms and planned by women. Susan explains, ” In the early 19th century people were moving away from the Victorian or patterned gardens toward creating herbaceous borders which were constantly changing.”

“Eudora called the patterned Victorian gardens ‘bites in the grass'”, Haltom says with a chuckle.  Eudora’s mother, Chestina’s, motto was- “Beds No, Borders Yes”!

“They both wanted the garden to have the feel of a symphony”, Susan says, “A parade of bloom in the border was the goal”.

An herbaceous border at Dumbarton Oaks…

herbaceous border

The Orangery was built and the creeping fig planted in 1860 , Ficus pumila, continues to thrive…

fig ivy, Ficus pumila

When I asked her about the trailing habit as opposed to the way mine simply creeps to cover a surface, she suggests that the maturity of this plant is the probable explanation.

 I guess I will have to hang around for another hundred years or so if I want to see mine performing this way…

fig ivy

The Pebble Garden was designed in the 1960s and incorporates the family crest and motto.

 Pictured here wheat sheaves and cornucopia, timely for the season!…

pebble garden

 Autumnal abundance with autumn crocus, colchicum autumnale, accented by pumpkin and bois d’arc fruit…

Colchicum autumnale

Here, a trained gazebo incorporating the beautiful vista…

gazebo

Carved stonework makes an impression…

stone carving

carved stone

this lily pad table caught Susan’s eye…

carved lily pad table

as well as this chicken wire dripping with glass prisms (Susan thinks a party was forthcoming!)…

chicken wire decoration

She spotted these friends chatting in the garden, it made us think of Eudora enjoying her garden with friends…

friends in the garden

I think I will put Dumbarton Oaks on my Garden Bucket List…

Dumbarton Oaks

My thanks to Susan Haltom for today’s virtual trip to beautiful Dumbarton Oaks and for the gift of a copy of her book One Writer’s Garden: Eudora Welty’s Home Place for giveaway.  And the lucky winner is:

(pick me,pick me)

dog and cat

#12 Cheryl Welch

Congratulations!

all photos in this post courtesy of Susan Haltom

For everyone in the Jackson area, head out to Lemuria Bookstore on Thursday the 17th at 4:00 – Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer (she played “Minnie” in The Help) will be signing her new children’s book – a mystery geared to 8 to 12 year olds.  No reading but plenty of photo op and visiting time!

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