gardening on a grand scale

entry hillside

In honor of the HPSO Fall Plant Sale coming up this weekend, I will post about a marvelous garden. Last year, when I visited the Quirk & Neill garden (a collector’s garden with many unusual plants), they generously directed me to the Westwind Farm Studio as an example of a completely different approach to gardening. Here, the plant material is familiar, but used in great sweeping swathes that eventually melt into the surrounding 40 acres of natural landscape. So as not to overdo a good thing, I will break this down into three consecutive posts.


From the parking area, a path winds up the hill. In most cases, dried seedheads and flowers have been left in place, as on this crocosmia.


Tons of massive stone were brought in. We are introduced to the idea of stonework amidst plantings with these stone steps taking us over the brow of the hill to the level where the house reveals itself. It was designed by the late, great Pietro Belluschi.


The back deck of the house overlooks this bed, where a large stand of Solidago ‘Fireworks’ rises above muhly grass and Perovskia, establishing a theme of repetition that holds throughout the property.


The next bed picks up the theme and riffs on it.

stachys border

Rivers of lambs’ ears define many of the borders, this one overlooking the view of the valley.


The muhly grass reappears as a border plant. Earlier in the season, the Echinacea, grown in abundance, set the hillside aflame. Now the seedheads have been left standing. There are birds everywhere.


Grass is used sparingly, providing a nice cushy walking surface.

yoga studio

Huge stones are worked into the plantings masterfully, and even jut out from paved surfaces here and there, making it look as if they were native to the site. The building on the left is a yoga studio overlooking the pool.


Not too many places on my radar could provide the perfect setting for a monumental sculpture.


Ah, the good life.


There’s that muhly grass again, this time surrounding a pond with waterfall.

bee heaven

Leaving the house level, another path takes us up the back hill. The bright noonday sun fades the color, but the birds and the bees were working over this hillside like nobody’s business.

dried flowers

Dried flower heads of Achillea make for an autumnal composition. And that’s it for today’s installation of this three-part series. I must warn you: tomorrow we will visit the greenhouse, so if eliminating envy is high on your list of resolutions, you might want to steer clear.

8 thoughts on “gardening on a grand scale

  1. I really like the effect of the massed plantings. It’s something I’d have a hard time pulling off myself since given the choice between a dozen of one known plant and a dozen single new plants I always seem to go for the different plant. I tell myself it’s curiosity for new things but I wonder if it’s really some total lack of discipline… Anyway, thanks for the tour, and I’m looking forward to more episodes.

  2. Loree~It’s hard for me to think of anything they DON’T have. The greenhouse post will be right up your alley.

    James~I’m with you there, but having more land gets one thinking in terms of “drifts”. Dividing will have to get me there unless the lottery goes our way.

  3. Hi Ricki~~ What a great place. I love the plantings and the view. I bet the air is really fresh. The water feature looks fabulous. I look forward to the next installment.

  4. Grace~Everything was really fresh after our recent rainy spell. If only we could space out those rainy days and have about one per week throughout the growing season.

  5. I unquestionably understand everything you have said. Actually, I browsed through your several other posts and I’m sure you happen to be absolutely correct. Great job with this website.

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