Trade Secrets 2017: Colsfoot Garden

Over the past fourteen years, Juliet and John Hubbard have created an enchanting cottage garden around the colonial house that has been in the Hubbard family for almost 100 years. Their first endeavor was to renovate John’s father’s vegetable garden within the original design of picket fence, gravel path, and central bird bath. Here they grow some vegetables, raspberries, and old-fashioned peonies for cut flowers. In Juliet’s own words: “Next to this garden we developed a perennial garden, which is framed by our neighbor’s lovely old barns. This garden is formal in design, using box and dwarf Alberta spruce to provide order while an informal planting of roses, peonies, irises, and daylilies softens the picture. To create a sense of abundant profusion, we encourage the spread of self-sowing flowers such as penstemon, knautia, bachelor’s buttons, and spurge.” Gravel paths thread in a geometric pattern through this garden, their edges blurred by lady’s mantle, nepeta, and those self-sown delights.

More recently, John and Juliet added a second formal vegetable garden close to their kitchen. Here they grow peas, asparagus, beans, tomatoes, and peppers, staking and tying their produce with branches and twigs in charmingly creative ways. Dahlias are grown here against the fence, and nasturtiums and nepeta line the pathways. A new garden of crabapples, lilacs, and hydrangeas border a meandering path between their new vegetable garden and the house. Juliet says, “John and I designed and planted these gardens ourselves and we continue to do all the gardening together. It is our joy and we find that the formal design keeps order in the gardens even when we are too busy to give them much attention.” 

Click images below to enlarge.