Monday, May 4, 2009

It's All About 'Dirt Therapy'


Almost a year ago Jamie and I had the great pleasure of meeting Phillip from Dirt Therapy. Jamie and I had been looking through photos on his blog and website for several months and we were absolutely mesmerized by his garden. Phillip has a huge selection of roses that are in their peak and he and Michael invited Me, Jamie and our friend Carol up for a visit. Let me tell you, the two of them will spoil you rotten and pamper you the entire visit. Jamie and I are planning a vacation the end of the month and I’m starting to think we should just rent a room at their house! The companionship is five stars all the way and so is the garden. Unfortunately, the night before we got there a huge rainstorm moved in and stayed the entire weekend. The roses were still gorgeous, but a large number of them were hanging their little blooms face down from the weight of the water. If this garden was an elegant crown the roses would be but a few tiny precious jewels in it, what Phillip and Michael have created is a labor of love that shines thru even the soggiest of days. This is going to be a long post, so get comfy and enjoy the tour I’ll minimize my comments so you can enjoy the garden.



Walking thru this garden is a feast for the eyes. We’ve been guests at Phillip and Michael’s house several times and even in the dead of winter I can’t help but saunter thru the garden. I enjoy it most when I am by myself with a cup of coffee. Such an indescribable sense of serenity wraps around you like a blanket as you stroll.



The garden is filled with the most incredible pieces of art. This planter is Pan, he is the god of flocks, forests and all things woodland in nature. He fell in love with a water nymph named Syrinx that did not return his love. She fled to a river and transformed into a stand of reeds. Pan was so heartbroken he took the reeds and created a pipe flute to play to help ease his grief.


This incredible patio and walkway was made by Phillip from recycled concrete. Phillip took the broken pieces and joined them back together with mortar. What an ingenious way to create the look of a very expensive stone structure.


All around the garden are falls and water features of every type.



This fountain sits in a perfectly circular courtyard filled with oak trees and hydrangeas.


This statue is part of his four seasons collection, this one represents winter. Jamie and I like his so much we will be getting these to go in the new bed at the rear of our garden. We think they’re fantastic.





This is one of the paths leading thru the secret garden.



One of these visits I’m going to find a way to sneak this weeping buddleia pictured on the left out of his garden. Shhhhhh! I know most of you know him so keep this to yourself… surely with all these wonderful plants he won’t miss this one.




The ‘Wolf Eyes’ dogwood shines out like a diamond even on an overcast day.




This is the upper entry to the secret garden. I love the way he has the giant old key by the doorway. Phillip has collected numerous copies of the book; it’s one of his very favorites.




Phillip's secret garden is filled with hydrangeas, hosta and host of other shade loving plants. The hydrangeas are a particular favorite of Michael’s.


I always find myself just a little bit sad when we drive away from Phillip and Michael's home and garden. I can never resist taking one more look back before it disappears out of site. I hope you enjoyed your tour.



Roses and Lilacs said...

I know their garden is beautiful. I've never seen so much of it at once. Philip usually just highlights one plant at a time.

It always reminds me of the garden of one of those stately old homes in England. It has an old look like it has been there forever. The stonework and the statues help the feeling.

Gail said...

I knew it would be magical Randy; just the few long views Phillip has shown made me aware of what a divine garden they have created! I know i could spend the day there and still want to go back again and again...each season there's a new surprise. I am absolutely crazy about his repurposed concrete use...who knew that's what it looks like old limestone. Thank you for a wonderful tour. gail

tina said...

It is one of the most beautiful gardens I've seen (albeit only in pictures) anywhere. They really have such nice specimens. And so nice they treat you so well!

Dirt Princess said...

His garden is beyond mesmorizing! I want to visit Phillip as well as you when I am up that way. I should plan a trip. I want to see both with my own eyes. Will ya'll let the Dirt Princess visit?

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Oh my ... this is my ideal garden too ! It is simply beautiful and yes ! a sense of serenity is definitely there .. you took wonderful pictures and it almost feels like I just had a walk through it all, thank you and thanks to Phillip and Michael for such a beautiful garden to tour this way : )
PS .. You guys have a gorgeous garden too !!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

There isn't a poor view any way you glance. I am absolutely salivating over these photos. I can only imagine how wonderful it is to be able to stroll around at your own speed soaking it all in. Thank you so much for taking us along with you on this magical tour.

Randy said...

It's a wonderful garden! Positively wonderful. You can the birth of the entire garden at his website. Just click the link at the beginning of the post.

Maigcal is the word to use. Disney ain't got nothing on this place. :-)I NEVER tire of seeing his garden and it takes my breath away every single time.

If you think the photos are good, you should see it in person. Words just don't do it justice.

Dirt Princess we would love to have you see our garden, but be forwarned, ours is like a flower bed compared to Phillip's. Theirs is the real treat. LOL That's okay, well catch up in a few years. :-)

Their garden is better than chocolate. BTW Phillip fixe us White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake. MMMMMMMMMMMMMM! AND we took home the rest of it when we left! LOL

The amazing part is... THATS NOT ALL OF IT! It would be impossible to photograph it all and with so many seasonal things you would have to make several regular trips just to the everything blooming.

sweetbay said...

Thanks for the tour -- most enjoyable! Phillip's garden is beautiful. So well put together and the roses are fantastic.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Wow, that is an amazing garden. Thanks for sharing all those photos.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Phillip & Michael's garden is like heaven on earth! Thanks for sharing this wonderful tour with us. :)

Randy said...

Their roses are fabulous! I just see that Phillip has made a post announcing his garden is open next weekend.

You should see it in person!

You know, Virginia isn't THAT far away. You can stop at Phillips and head on to Bellingrath Gardens.

Frances said...

Hi J and R, this was a fabulous tour of two fabulous people's fabulous garden. I have always imagined Phillip's creation as a masterpiece of mature specimens and great hardscape, with wonderful art thrown in. Your post shows it to be that and much more. I love seeing a garden from a new perspective. Even though I have read Phillip's posts for a long time, you have put it in a different light. The secret garden is wonderful, he has created the scene of the book to perfection. All wonderful. I am running out of superlatives! :-)

Anonymous said...

You captured Phillips's garden like someone who appreciates it. I'm not surprised he is a gracious host. He is very gentlemanly as are you.

I like the winter fountain. And all the plants are so mature. I've never seen a weeping buddleia but sure would like it in my garden. Maybe he needs to start some cuttings.

Pam/Digging said...

I'm thrilled that you posted so many long shots and great views of Phillip's garden. I've been an admirer of his for some time, but it's wonderful to see it from a visitor's perspective. His garden has wonderful structure and captivating plants. I'd love to see it in person one day. Lucky you to have seen it several times!

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Thank you for the wonderful tour. It's nice to see their garden from your point of view. It's like when Pam from Digging visited me, and she saw so much I didn't see. Thank you again. So beautiful. It must be huge.~~Dee

Chandramouli S said...

It truly is a Therapy when you stroll across Michael and Phillip's Garden ain't it? I envy you, for you were lucky to get the actual therapy itself! I love the garden all the more because of their wonderful collection of statues. To me, a garden SHOULD have statues! What do I say about their Roses? Especially the ones that haunt the arches? They're sooo lovely... Thank you so much for the tour, J & R.

Jan said...

I would love to live across the street from Phillip and his garden, then I could enjoy the fantastic view every day. (Maybe even sneak in while they are at work and pretend it is my garden.)

Always Growing

Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog said...

Wow, truly stunning! And that weeping buddleia?? Never heard of that but I'd want it too. Thanks for so many great pics of Philip's garden.

Annie in Austin said...

My feelings are like those of Frances and Pam - you've given us a new look at a place we've admired for years...first on the Southern Garden website and later on at the blog - and made us jealous of your garden visits, too! Thanks, Randy.

Isn't it fun to realize that you're now sending your readers over to Dirt Therapy? That's only fair, since Phillip introduced your Eden to his longtime readers after the February 2008 tornado. I'm so glad he did.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose