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Woodland retreat

Karin Leonard describes herself as a “guerrilla gardener,” a plant plopper whose goal in her personal outdoor space has always been simple and straightforward: To create something beautiful.

And she has succeeded, even if it has meant taking a few risks, like the Japanese maple she planted. “I knew it was a little iffy, but in a protected place, when the sunlight shines on it, it’s a peak experience,” enthuses the long-time gardener.

“I’ve always loved nature and found solace in nature. I feel so at home in nature,” says Leonard, who is self-employed. She was born in Austria, which she believes gives her a natural affinity for woodland plants. She also advocates organic gardening, and the use of native plants, which she describes as an outgrowth of being a single parent of a special-needs child. “I wanted organic everything, and it was a conscious choice not to use chemicals.”

Over the years, the landscape surrounding her home has provided an opportunity to design beds and borders that are both pretty and practical.

“Little by little over the last 10 to 15 years I’ve planted and added areas and the garden has evolved.

Leonard deliberately set out to make her garden a soothing place. “I feel so at home in the garden, and it’s such a peaceful retreat.”

Several years ago, Matthias Landscaping installed new hardscape that “looks like it has always been here.”

There are no real straight lines in the garden, which creates a better sense of flow, and there are both physical and visual transitions to keep the garden interesting. Tabletop gardens and garden art are finishing touches.

The front porch boasts a pleasant seating area that seems to invite lingering and offers a sense of seclusion.

Plants provide texture and repetition of favorite plants provide continuity. Bloodroot, with its yellow-centered white flowers, is among the first plants to bloom in spring, along with bluebells and maidenhair ferns.

Leonard is also a fan of celandine, a plant in the poppy family, and other favorites include hostas, Asiatic lilies, clematis, Chinese lanterns, cleome, ornamental grasses, Queen Anne’s lace, coleus and succulents. Some plants, such as bloodroot and Chinese lanterns, can be invasive but she keeps them in check. “If they pop up where I don’t want them, I rip them out.”

She especially enjoys the “Intensia” phlox series, and all of her plant choices are easy to care for and look attractive for weeks on end.

“That’s important because I don’t have the time or energy to always be tending it,” she confesses, smiling. “I’m an early riser, and I love being able to walk in my garden and snip flowers to bring in or to pull a few weeds. I walk around with a cup of coffee and see what needs attention.”

Article source: http://wcfcourier.com/lifestyles/home-and-garden/gardening/ideas/woodland-retreat/article_acea5cf4-5ea2-53f8-8852-c741c6b7310e.html