Linda Ragland's Garden, A Riot of ColorPerched 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
Patio Peach(Prunus persica 'Bonfire')
The plant: This dwarf, ornamental peach has extremely long, dark burgundy leaves in spring and summer, preceded by very striking double pink flowers in spring. The deciduous tree may set a few fruits, but the main attraction is the foliage. Mature height is six feet. Hardy in USDA Zones 3-9.
How to use it: Nice for large containers or to combine with evergreens in a shrub or tree border.
Cultivation: Grow in ordinary soil in full sun.
Source: Trees Direct Online
Freedom Hedge Rose(Rosa 'Freedom')
The plant: Hybridized by octogenarian Jerry Twomey, this free flowering rose grows to five feet tall. The ever blooming red roses are followed by bright orange hips. Hardy in USDA Zones 4-9, but provides protection where winter temperatures fall below 5 degrees F.
How to use it: If you want a colorful hedge, plant the bushes three feet apart on center.
Cultivation: Plant in full sun in fertile, well-drained soil. Protection
White Stoke's Aster(Stokesia laevis 'Alba')
The plant: Native to the southeastern United States, this garden perennial has leathery, semi-evergreen foliage and white, fringed flowers two inches across. The flowers are held on foot high stems, and basal foliage is evergreen. It's named for Dr. Jonathon Stokes, an early 19th century English botanist, who was a friend of Linnaeus's son. Grows to 12-15 inches tall.
How to use it: This is a lovely cut flower for summer bouquets. Plant sun in drifts along with Asiatic lilies, evening primrose and other early summer flowering perennials.
Source: Meadowbrook Nursery
Asiatic Lily(Lilium 'Suncrest')
The plant: This Asiatic lily hybrid has maroon-speckled, pale yellow blooms. Height is four feet. Asiatic lilies bloom in early summer, before Oriental lilies.
How to use it: Grow in a perennial border along with other June-July flowers – daylilies, late blooming roses and Stokes aster.
Source: Snow Creek Daylily Gardens