A Photographer's Secret Garden
Learn what an Atlanta fine art photographer and mom finds beautiful about her garden.
Photo by Angela West
The Georgia garden is a natural place for photographer Angela West to catch daughters Lila (left) and Caroline Harris through her lens. The girls are surrounded by plants including purple coneflowers, roses and English boxwood.
Angela West’s fine art photographs are in the collections of Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C., and an array of Southern museums and art galleries. She’s also shot gardens for HGTV tours, such as a poolside garden, English-style garden and a fairy tale garden.
She recently turned the camera onto her ample Atlanta garden, where she embraces the unruly nature and continues to make discoveries about flowers planted by previous owners.
The garden is a “managed mess,” she says, for her family and friends to enjoy. As you walk through the garden, some flowers have to be politely nudged aside to pass through on the paths. Granite pavers and steps lead to garden rooms on different levels. She lets basil, thyme, chives, tarragon and other herbs mix together in a free-form way in her circular herb garden. Her two young daughters take part in watering, frolic along the slate chip pathways and play on the moss-covered rocks.
West savors the garden’s unruly design, with a bit of intrigue around each corner. Not having a clear view of what’s to come can encourage people to explore, she says.
“I like that it looks wild,” she says.
Even the fragrant clerodendrum, which attracted West to the property, were all over the garden when she and her husband purchased the home in 2009. She’s selectively cut back the flowering shrub and its broad heart-shaped leaves, while still allowing it to be free to spread out.
One of the bigger changes she’s made is removing some of the wood arbors that had fallen into disrepair. She drew up plans for new steel arbors, which she didn’t want to be obtrusive.
“I wanted them to disappear,” she says. “I wanted to really highlight the flowers.”