Colorful Mountainside

Linda Ragland creates a colorful garden at her mountainside home.

Linda Ragland's Garden, A Riot of Color

Perched on a steep mountainside overlooking three states, Linda Ragland's garden in Chatsworth, Ga., is a riot of color in the summer. Ragland, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in her late 30s, has found strength and enjoyment from creating a garden. The mountainside setting affords beautiful views of the sunset, and on clear days, one can look across at Lookout Mountain in Tennessee.

Ragland, a retired corporate executive, first wanted to grow a few vegetables, but the garden expanded with her growing interest in plants. She is now a master gardener and president of her garden club. The area already had mature mountain laurels, so she added scores of flowers, including roses, hydrangeas, peonies and dahlias. Her husband, Joe, has built walkways and patios from the prolific stone that is all over the mountainside. She jokingly says that "every time you dig, you hit a Buick," because the stones are the size of a large car.

Joe also used the native rock to terrace flower and shrub beds, as well as to make a pond and a sitting area with swings that look out over the vast valley below. In late June, the garden is full of color, thanks to hundreds of daylilies planted up and down the mountain.

Although the climate is tough and the terrain extremely rough and rocky, Ragland has created a mountainside paradise. An occasional bear appears, but regular visitors are hummingbirds, butterflies and gold finches. Two guinea hens roam the mountainside and provide ambience for the garden, which Linda says is "a fabulous balm for the soul and great for my outlook."

Carpet Rose (Rosa 'Red Cascade')

The plant: This vigorous, carefree creeping rose covers a large area (six to eight feet). In the spring and fall, the low, spreading plant is covered in clusters of tiny, tight buds which open to one-inch double scarlet flowers. The plant blooms all summer with a large flush of blooms in spring and again in fall. The color is deep red, very disease resistant. Hardy in USDA Zones 5-8.
How to use it: Nice to cover a stump, hang over a wall or as a ground cover. Lovely combined with chartreuse conifers.
Cultivation: Grow in fertile, well-drained soil in sunny location.
Source: Niche Gardens

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