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When I first met former Smith Mountain Laker Magazine publisher Micah Gaudio in 2004, he asked me to write a garden piece that would be especially valuable for Laker readers. As many lakefront properties are on steep slopes, I decided to address the issue, offering a variety of ideas for turning a difficult steep slope into a landscape asset. The article appeared in the October/November 2004 issue and I’ve been a regular contributor since. Through the years, I’ve had the privilege of meeting and writing about many wonderful, fascinating SML residents who have created beautiful gardens in the oftendifficult soil and terrain environment of the lake. I have written general-interest stories about topics such as the benefits of birds in the garden and attracting butterflies as well as important subjects such as minimizing fertilizer on lawns, reducing lawns and designing gardens sensitive to the environment that nurture the lake habitat rather than destroy it. In honor of the magazine’s 10th anniversary, I’ve identified my favorite stories among the many featured in the Laker over the years. —Catriona Tudor Erler Catriona Tudor Erler is a freelance garden writer, photographer and speaker who divides her time between SML and Charlottesville. She is the author of nine garden books, including “Design Ideas for Home Landscaping,” “Poolscaping: Gardening and Landscaping Around Your Pool and Spa,” and “Complete Home Landscaping.”

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A look back at our most memorable Lake & Garden features of the past decade Riparian Buffer Gardens: Most Important November/December 2005

Lake & Garden

by Catriona Tudor Erler

Style

◄ Garden designer Leslie Santapaul in her riparian buffer garden on Smith Mountain Lake

Low-maintenance buffer gardens provide a beautiful way to prevent runoff

Lake-Friendly

GARDENING

Smith Mountain Lake has been rated one of the cleanest on the East Coast. But as development around the lake and the nearby watershed areas grows increasingly intense, the Lake’s water purity may be at risk. Fortunately, there is much that local homeowners can do to protect this valuable resource. One of the major sources of pollutants for the Lake is water runoff from gardens. Fertilizers and other garden chemicals used by the thousands of people who live within the lake watershed area, as well as silt and animal waste, all leach into the lake. This pollution problem is intensified when homeowners strip the Lake shore land of all or most of its natural vegetation, and in its place plant a lawn that goes right down to the water’s edge. American Electric Power’s recently enacted Shoreline Management Plan now prohibits lakefront homeowners from cutting down native vegetation within the 800 foot contour unless they substitute with other native plants that fulfill the same environmental function as the plant that’s removed. But for properties that have already been stripped of natives, homeowners can still help by planting a buffer garden of native plants along the waterfront. Called a riparian buffer (riparian refers to the banks of a river, stream or lake), ideally the bed should extend a minimum of 25 feet behind the rip-rap, and cover 50 percent of the shoreline frontage. However, even a small buffer is better than nothing. There are many benefits, both aesthetic and practical, to planting natives

along the shore: •The shoreline plants filter rainwater and melting snow from the surrounding watershed, preventing fertilizers, pesticides, and other pollutants from entering the Lake. •Sturdy plants, these natives survive adversity by establishing extensive root systems that burrow 3-8 feet deep, improving the soil structure and its ability to hold water. This network of roots is like living cement, adding strength to existing rip-rap, or possibly delaying the need to install it. •Increased plant diversity adds to the beauty and interest of the shore, as well as reducing the risk of a pest or disease infestation due to growing just a few plants intensely. •The plants are an important habitat for wildlife, including butterflies. The plants act as an effective barrier to geese and ducks, keeping them out of your garden and off your lawn. •Native plants are very low maintenance. They require no fertilizing (they grow leggy and unattractive if fed) and little or no watering once they’re established. •By reducing the size of your lawn, turning over some of the garden space to native plants, you’ll save time and money on mowing and fertilizing.

What to Plant

A riparian buffer zone should contain a mixture of native trees, shrubs, wildflowers (known as forbs), grasses, and sedges. The palette of available native

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Fertilizers and other garden chemicals used by the thousands of people who live within the lake watershed area, as well as silt and animal waste, are damaging SML’s water quality. The pollution problem is intensified when homeowners strip their land of all or most of its natural vegetation and in its place plant a lawn that goes right down to the water’s edge. Waterfront trees, shrubs and perennials help filter pollutants and excess fertilizer by taking them up in their roots. A 25-foot wide lakefront (riparian) buffer garden does a lot to filter environmental pollutants before they reach the water. Since this article appeared, it’s been encouraging to see more homeowners planting these attractive buffer gardens.

Holiday Decorating: Most Creative November/December 2008

If you’ve got visions of sugar plums dancing in your head as the holidays approach, then decorating your home with the bounty from the garden, larder and nearby woods and fields is an obvious choice. We suggested a variety of ways homeowners can bring nature indoors to deck the halls for the holidays. Ideas ranged from simple – arrangements of fruit and foliage and garlands made from ropes of evergreens – to elaborate craft projects that combine pine cones, seed pods, dried flowers and grasses, feathers and other materials to make striking holiday centerpieces and wreaths. A highlight was Rachel Yungman’s turkey centerpiece made with dried flowers and grasses, pine cones and rushes.

26 November • December 2011 | SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKER

Style Lake &

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Use nature’s bounty to decorate for the holidays Story & PhotograPhy by Catriona tudor ErlEr

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p Rachel Yungman and her decorative turkey made of dried materials.

Festive If you’ve got visions of sugar plums

dancing in your head as the holidays approach, then decorating your home with the bounty from the garden, your larder and nearby woods and fields is an obvious choice. 2 8

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There are countless ways you can bring nature indoors to deck the halls for the holidays, ranging from simple arrangements of fruit and foliage and garlands made from ropes of evergreens to elaborate craft projects that combine pine cones, dried flowers and grasses, feathers and other materials to make striking holiday centerpieces and wreaths. Rachel Yungman of Hardy is a master at working with dried plant material. She has an artist’s eye for the shapes, patterns, textures and colors of her dried materials, transforming them into beautiful arrangements and craft projects. For Thanksgiving she makes a turkey out of pine cones, seed pods and dried plants that is worthy of gracing any Thanksgiving table. To make her turkey, Yungman glues individual pine cone scales onto a Styrofoam™ form in overlapping rows like shingles to create the neck and head. The body and tail are a mixture of dried seed pods and flowers stuck into an oasis base. Celosia serves as the wattle. Spiky flowers such as lavender, giant agastache, horehound, candle tip celosia and miniature cattails create the wide spread tail, and a turkey tail fungus tucked under the tail in back lives up to its name. Mickey Stansbury, also of Hardy, is renowned for her tabletop trees made with nuts, acorns, shells, cinnamon sticks, dried pods and flowers, boxwood, holly and other natural materials. There are three different bases she uses, depending on the tree. Styrofoam™ cones are ideal for nut trees (the nuts are baked at 250 degrees for two hours to kill any bugs) and trees made with dried hydrangea flowers. A waterlogged florist oasis block trimmed into a conical form is the best choice for trees made with living plants such as boxwood sprigs, holly, or other winter greenery. For larger trees with heavier greens and decorations, Stansbury opts for wire frames stuffed with oasis blocks. In addition to trees that are purely decorative, Stansbury also makes edible ones for holiday parties. A guest favorite is the shrimp and vegetable tree. Stansbury covers a Styrofoam™ cone with red-leaf lettuce attached with floral pins. Then she skewers shrimp, grape or cherry tomatoes, black and green olives, and cut up vegetables such as carrots and zucchini with toothpicks and secures them to the tree in an attractive

pattern. A bowl of dip placed at the base of the tree is a tasty accompaniment to the edibles on the tree. For a bit of sparkle on your mantle or tabletop, consider making sugar-frosted fruit. It’s a simple project that provides dramatic results. Pears, plums, oranges, lemons, limes and grapes are all ideal candidates for frosting. The first step involves covering the fruit with an adhesive material so the sugar will stick. Possible adhesives include light corn syrup, spray glue or an egg white diluted with a tablespoon of water and beaten until frothy. Coat the fruit with one of these adhesive materials (if you are using spray glue, skewer the fruit and rotate it as you spray the glue), and then roll it in fine granulated sugar (regular granulated sugar works, but gives a coarser texture). Allow the fruit to dry on wax paper before arranging it on a platter or stacking the pieces in a decorative tower held together with bamboo skewers. Add ribbon or evergreen sprigs to finish off the display. The fruit will last well for about a week. The ever-popular Williamsburg Christmas decorations are another source of inspiration for natural decorations. Simple pyramids of oranges or lemons with sprigs of boxwood or holly tucked in the gaps look elegant on a side table or mantle. Place a row of four pieces of fruit on the bottom, three on the next row, two and then one on top. If necessary, use bamboo skewers to hold the fruit in place. A field trip to Colonial Williamsburg (see article on Page 56) at this time of year will provide a host of ideas for decorating with natural materials, as well as resources for frames and structures to facilitate making some of the decorate displays. The possibilities for decorating for the holidays with materials from gardens, nearby woods and the produce aisle of the grocery store is limited only by your imagination. Celebrate the bounty of nature as you celebrate the holidays. Catriona Tudor Erler is a freelance garden writer, photographer and speaker who divides her time between Smith Mountain Lake and Charlottesville. She is the author of nine garden books, including Design Ideas for Home Landscaping, Poolscaping: Gardening and Landscaping Around Your Swimming Pool and Spa and Complete Home Landscaping.

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Create an environment that’s beautiful and non-irritating

Achoo!

Story & PhotograPhy by Catriona tudor ErlEr

As spring approaches and the pollen count rises, it seems only natural that allergy sufferers are experiencing mixed feelings about the floral bounty of the season. Allergies are a common problem in this country. More than 50 million people suffer from hay fever. Add to that the asthma sufferers and those with chronic sinus problems, and you have a lot of people who are leery of going out into the garden, let alone working in it. Fortunately, it’s possible to plant a garden that is virtually free of allergy-inducing plants. With carefully selected plants and thoughtful gardenmanagement techniques, even people with severe allergies can experience the joy of gardening.

Qualities of Less-Allergenic Plants

Airborne pollen is a major source of allergies. Any plant that spreads its pollen by wind is going to be an allergy troublemaker. But not all airborne pollen is equally offending. Heavy pollen falls quickly to the ground fairly near the plant and does not cause too many problems. Lightweight pollen floats about on the air, covering everything with a fine yellow dust. Therefore, you’re better off choosing plants that produce heavy pollen. In general, plants that are pollinated by insects rather than by air will be better for sensitive gardeners. There are flowering plants that are completely pollen-free. Here’s why: Some plants produce separate male and female flowers on a single plant, others have both male and female parts in each of its flowers. A third group of plants is singlesexed, either male or female. In the case of separate-sex plants, the males produce plenty of airborne pollen, while the female plants are pollen-free. In the case of species such as willows, ash, poplars, hollies and maples that have a reputation for causing allergy problems, it is the male plants that are the culprits. The females are blameless. The females get a bad rap, because they are considered messy when they drop berries or fruit, but if there isn’t a male plant in the vicinity, they won’t produce any fruit and will be perfectly clean. Unfortunately, nursery tags don’t often give the sex of separate-sex plants. When applicable, it helps to know the cultivar name of the species you want so you’re sure to get a female variety. In the maple family, for example, opt for Acre x Freeman ‘Autumn Fantasy’ and ‘Indian Summer.’ For a red maple, choose A. rubrum ‘Autumn Glory,’ ‘Dave Red,’ ‘Doric,’ ‘Embers’, Festival,’ ‘Fanksred,’ ‘October Glory,’ ‘Red Skin,’ or ‘Red Sunset.’ Curiously, flower color and form influence the potential for allergies. Small, pale-colored flowers tend to be the worst offenders. Off-white and greenish-colored blossoms are notorious for provoking discomfort. In contrast, boldly colored trumpet-shaped flowers are a good choice for sensitive people, because the pollen is tucked down in the bottom of the cup where the insects crawl to collect it and where the wind can’t blow it around. Snapdragons are a great choice for an allergyfree garden. A bee has to pry open the flower to get to the pollen, and the flower pops back shut once the bee emerges. Duration of the pollen release is another important factor. Some trees release pollen for only a few days a year. While

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it may be an uncomfortable few days, it’s usually tolerable. In contrast, trees such as the Arizona cypress and some eucalyptus flower throughout the year, creating an ongoing allergenic irritant. For an excellent list of plants rated for their potential to irritate allergies, see Allergy-Free Gardening: The Revolutionary Guide to Healthy Landscaping by Thomas L. Ogren.

Minimizing Allergies in the Garden

There are lots of tricks to minimize your exposure to allergy-inducing irritants in your garden. Here are a few: • Wear a face-mask filter when you mow your lawn to avoid exposure to the dust, pollen, mold spores, and chopped insect bodies that are blown into the air by the mower. Rotary power lawnmowers are particular offenders for dispersing irritants into the air. Instead, opt for a reel mower. Also, avoid mowing early in the morning when most grasses release the most pollen. If you hire the “mow, blow and go” gardeners to care for your lawn, close the windows while they’re working to cut down on exposure. • Many shrubs produce small, allergy-promoting flowers. Shear them regularly to cut off the flowers before they develop. Likewise, give deciduous trees an annual trim, cutting back the ends of all branches to remove flower buds. This task is particularly important for trees that produce tiny flowers that are easy to overlook. • Plant to attract birds. The birds will eat a huge number of insects, lowering allergy potential. • Keep your plants healthy. The healtheir they are, the more resistant plants will be to pests and diseases that increase allergenic substances such as mold and insect dander. A disease- and pest-free plant is a less-allergenic plant. • Molds are terrible for inducing allergic reactions. Fortunately, even in the garden you can minimize their presence. Good air circulation and sunlight are anathema to them. So to discourage mold in your garden, keep woodland areas pruned with a laced canopy so light can penetrate and fresh breezes can blow through. Some molds reside in compost heaps. Get someone else to turn the heap, and discard any plants infested with molds or mildews in the trash. Whether or not you suffer from allergies, never compost diseased plants. Natural fertilizers such as manure also may harbor mold spores. It’s not uncommon to blame a newly sprouted lawn for an allergy outbreak when in fact the real cause may be the molds that were unwittingly spread along with the fertilizer. Your garden does not need to be a source of allergy irritants. With thought and creativity, you can create a beautiful environment that’s both comfortable and healthy. Catriona Tudor Erler is a freelance garden writer and photographer who divides her time between Smith Mountain Lake and Charlottesville, Virginia. She is the author of eight garden books, including “The Frugal Gardener: How to Have More Garden for Less Money,” and “Complete Home Landscaping.”

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Allergy-Free Gardening: Most Scientific March/April 2008

Rich with information about allergens in the garden and tips for avoiding them, this article was a keeper for anyone who suffers from pollen, mold, mildew and other allergy-inducing irritants. Among the helpful tips: opting for plants with heavy pollen that falls quickly to the ground rather than floating through the air as a fine dust; female plants produce less pollen than males; reel lawn mowers kick up less dust and pollen than rotary power mowers; and good air circulation and sunlight reduce mold and mildew in the garden.

Style Lake & Garden

FlightsofFancy Staircase design can be beautiful as well as functional

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Story & PhotograPhy by Catriona tudor ErlEr

When confronted with a difficult garden problem, the famous 18th Century landscape gardener Lancelot “Capability” Brown used to say that he saw “great capability for landscape improvement.” So it is on Smith Mountain Lake. The challenge that hillside lots present for accessing the water is a design opportunity. Unfortunately, many people take the efficient approach to staircase design. Adhering to the theory that the fastest way to get from point A to point B is in a straight line, they run their stairs directly down the slope – like a plumb line to the water’s edge. Since nature generally doesn’t have straight lines the result often looks like a scar on the landscape. In addition, the straight line visually extends the apparent length of the staircase, making the hike up and down the hill look longer than it is. The long, straight stairs also makes the journey up and down more tedious because there is no variation or rest area along the way. A second common problem is purchasing ready-made flights of stairs that in steep situations sit high above ground level, standing out dramatically on the slope. A hand rail, which is required by code if a structure is more than 30 inches off the ground, adds more busyness to the composition. In addition, the homeowner has to pay for more building materials to create the rails. Another common cost-saving measure is to leave the face of the rise open, exposing the structural underpinning of the stairs. While that does save a little money on materials and labor, these stairs can look unattractive from the Lake, which is the primary viewing point most people have of your home and garden. A better solution is to build a staircase that follows the contours of the land, winding its way down the slope in graceful curves or zigzags.

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Materials for Steps The look of a stairway to the water can be as different as the many architectural styles that are such fun to look at on the Lake. The obvious construction materials for steps include stone, wood and brick. These can be used alone, such as for a wooden or stone staircase, or combined in all sorts of creative ways. For example, steps may be formed by landscape ties or logs and then filled in with gravel, shredded bark, concrete pavers, bricks or flagstones. Your choice of material will most likely be driven by budget considerations, but also by the design of your house and dock. For example, a rustic cabin or A-frame probably calls for wooden steps. A contemporary house may look better with brick or stone, or perhaps some other modern material that is used in the house design. Designing Steps for Comfort

The height of each step, called the rise, affects the length of your stride. If you are going up a stair with a very tall rise, you will tend to take short strides because you need the leg length to reach the next step. In contrast, if the rise is short, your stride will tend to be longer. As a rule of thumb, a comfortable guide to use to determine the best combination of tread depth and riser height is that the two numbers should add up to between 18 and 20. For example, if the tread is 12 inches deep, the rise should be about 7 inches. A deeper tread, say 15 inches, should have a short rise of about 4 inches. A steep rise per step is much more tiring to walk up and down than a short step. Even a half an inch makes a huge difference. A 6-inch rise per stair is much easier and less tiring to climb than a 6½-inch rise, and a 7½-inch rise or more is exhausting. On a steep slope you can reduce the rise requirement by running the

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Stairs to the Lake: Most Practical September/October 2007

The challenge that steep hillside lots present for accessing the water is a design opportunity. Rather than running stairs straight down the slope, it’s more attractive to follow the contours of the land, hugging the slope so the stairs meld with the landscape. Fully enclosed risers give a finished look to wooden stairs and look much more attractive from the water than the exposed structural underpinnings. The story focused on ways to make the stairs down to the lake an aesthetic feature of your property as well as a comfortable journey.

To read the original stories, log on to smithmountainlake.com/10.

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shorelines | 10TH ANNIVERSARY

Style Lake & Garden

DRESS UP YOUR

DOCK Story & PhotograPhy

by

Catriona tudor ErlEr

Beautify your dock and enhance the experience for passersby on the water by decorating with containers brimming with color. “Ah,” you may say. “Great idea, but I’m not at the lake often enough to keep them watered.” Not a problem. Fortunately, a lot of good container plants thrive in heat and drought, and you can amend the planting medium so it retains moisture, significantly reducing the watering requirements.

Containers can add a punch of color to your favorite outdoor space

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Container Choices

New, modern materials have added a whole range of container styles that are lightweight, durable and attractive. One is molded fiberglass, cast and finished so it resembles stone, clay or a metal such as wrought iron, lead, rusted iron or bronze. They are available shaped into planters, urns and tubs. Another modern material for garden containers is polyurethane foam, which is formed to resemble terracotta, cast stone, wood and even rattan. Like the fiberglass containers, they are more durable than ceramic or clay, able to withstand year-round extreme temperatures and exposure to sunlight without cracking or fading. These planters also are easier to lift and maneuver because they are 90 percent lighter than clay pots. You might also consider opting for something totally unexpected. What about an abandoned rowboat? Or a leaky pair of fishing waders? Build containers into a bench or attach window boxes along the rim of the dock. Most docks cover a large expanse of space, so your containers need to be large to fit with that scale. Anything too small will look insignificant, and too-small containers risk blowing over in a gust of wind. If you’ve already got containers, but they’re smaller than ideal, group them together to create a larger visual mass. Grouped containers also enhance the effect of a bountiful bouquet or flower garden. M A Y / J U N E

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Decorating Docks and Decks: Most Lake-centric May/June 2008

Lake & Garden

By Catriona Tudor Erler

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The story focused on ways to beautify your dock and enhance the experience for passersby on the water by decorating with containers brimming with color. For those not at the lake full time, the article offered suggestions for adding peat moss and water-retaining crystals or gels to the potting medium to help it retain moisture.

A GARDEN BY NIGHT

uArbor pillars illuminated with lights pointing up, fountain beyond lit with submerged lights

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uHalf hood path light shines light on nearby plants as well as down on path

After years of enjoying a simple A-frame house on the lakefront point property in Huddleston, the owners decided to expand. In addition to enlarging the house, they brought in landscape architect Robert McDuffie, who also is a professor of horticulture at Virginia Tech, to redesign the garden and Clay Johnston, president of Union Hallbased Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Southern Virginia, to design the outdoor lighting. The third key person on the project was Kathy Smith of Smith Mountain Landscapes in Huddleston. She installed all the plants and made major contributions to selecting and placing them. Plans for the garden and its illumination proceeded while the house was still under construction. To take advantage of the almost-level lot, McDuffie created a stroll garden with generously wide, paved paths that meander through the large property. Large-scale beds follow the contours of the paths and sweep away in graceful curves and swoops. A rich, green lawn

Photos By Catriona Tudor Erler A K E R . C O M

views of water and mountain. The gently curving path that leads from the driveway to the front door spreads into a wider, circular space with a spectacular, three-tier Italian fountain that welcomes people with the musical sound of falling water. At the fountain, one branch of the path continues to the front door, while another heads off in another direction. This path runs underneath a classic, vine-covered arbor. Two benches with mosaic tile seats face each other under the arbor so people can sit and enjoy the garden in a shady, bower setting. On the lake side of the house, paved terraces overlook lawns that curve around beds that have a paisleylike pattern of swirled, abstract curved shapes. Using the site plan for the house and landscape design, Johnston created an elaborate, sophisticated lightscape to enhance and complement McDuffie’s garden plans. It’s a flexible system, all low-voltage, so lights locations can be adjusted as the plants grow.

connects and unifies the composition, providing open space and horizontal vistas between the beds. The garden beds are masterfully planted with perennials and shrubs that provide a mixture of heights, foliage color and texture, and floral interest in different seasons. Individual species are planted together in large swaths suitable to the scale of the beds, giving coherence to the design. Mass plantings of annuals fill in the gaps in summer and provide pools of continuous color in the season. Taller plants screen views from one part of the garden to another, making some of the space feel more enclosed and intimate, as well as adding a sense of mystery about what’s around the curve of the path or just over the shrub. McDuffie made a point of saving many of the indigenous trees that were already growing on the property, trimming them up so that the trunks are like architectural pillars and the leafy canopies provide dappled shade. They give a mature, established look to the garden, and on the lake side, frame the

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Hunt Garden: Most Enlightening July/August 2005

A lakefront-stroll garden with professional lighting designed by Clay Johnston, president of Union Hall-based Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, was an object lesson on good outdoor lighting techniques. The low-voltage system is flexible, allowing the homeowners to move lights as plants grow or garden needs change. Particularly outstanding was the uplit tiered fountain, the illuminated arbor, downlit paths, and the uplighting that brought out the details of the house facade.

28 November • December 2011 | SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKER


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shorelines | 10TH ANNIVERSARY

Mullendore Garden: First Lovely Laker Landscape Contest Winner September/October 2008

The outstanding garden belonging to Don and Karin Mullendore was the winner of the inaugural Lovely Laker Landscape Contest. Planted on a steep slope, the potentially difficult situation was used to great advantage. The garden is “presented” like a painting on an easel to viewers looking up from below and is an abstract design of shapes, colors and textures when viewed from above. To the side overlooking the swimming pool is a flower-covered slope where a medley of blooming plants provides summer-long interest.

q Don and Karin Mullendore's beautiful garden, located on a point near Marker B26, was the winner of the first Lovely Laker Landscape Contest.

Style Lake & Garden

A Winning

Combination Colorful annuals, perennials and shrubs create a stunning lake landscape

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Story & PhotograPhy by Catriona tudor ErlEr

iewed by land or by boat, Don and Karin Mullendore’s garden is a winner. Planted on a steep slope, the potentially difficult situation has been used to great advantage so that the garden is “presented” like a painting on an easel to viewers looking up from below. From above, it is an abstract design of shapes, colors and textures. Then there’s the flower garden overlooking the swimming pool where a medley of flowers provide summerlong interest. It all adds up to a spectacular scene worthy of the top prize in our first Lovely Laker Landscape Contest. On the largest sloping face of the Mullendore’s yard, Gold Mop false cypresses (Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Gold Mop’), Rosy Glow barberries, Burford hollies and Japanese maples provide the backbone to the design. The Gold Mops and barberries are planted in swaths, creating an undulating design of merging gold and pinkish red foliage punctuated with the red tinted foliage and distinctive arcing shape of a Japanese maple.

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Planted on a diagonal down the slope, Burford hollies cut a line through the free form planting, anchoring it with their dark green foliage and pruned spherical shape. A narrow brick path cuts across the slope through the shrubbery, leading down to the dock. The flower garden planted on the upward slope along the path that leads to the swimming pool is the crowning jewel in the garden. Inspired by the English cottage gardens where a wide variety of flowers are crowded together in happy profusion, Karin has combined perennials, shrubs and annuals that flourish in our hot, humid summers. The centerpiece to the flower garden is a Knock Out® rose that blooms nonstop from spring through the first frost and requires a minimum of care. A Rosy Glow barberry just behind it adds an appealing color echo, while a Gold Mop false cypress inserts a golden yellow accent. Towering over the composition is a white-flowering crape myrtle. At the feet of the shrubs is an abundance of perennial flowering plants, including phlox, black-eyed Susan, coreopsis, coneflowers and Shasta daisy. Annuals and biennials such as Wave® Petunias,

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Outdoor Garden Rooms: Biggest Trend May/June 2009

One of the latest trends in gardening is outdoor living space. Garden and home centers carry beautiful, durable weather-resistant fabrics, including carpets, furniture and kitchen equipment to create well-appointed outdoor rooms, including seating and dining areas and kitchens. Other features that enhance outdoor living are fireplaces and fire pits as well as lighting and water features. We highlighted lake residents who enjoy their expanded outdoor living spaces, including Charlie and Karen Cromwell’s carpeted patio living room; Ron and Colleen Toothman’s pizza oven and outdoor kitchen; Jerry and Janet Potter’s deck with a built-in barbecue, sink and refrigerator as well as storage space under the counter; and the beautiful outdoor tables Nancy Marshall sets for her guests.

Style | LAKE & GARDEN

Growing home trend enhances warm-weather entertaining Story and photography by Catriona tudor ErlEr Elements in a well-appointed outdoor room include a seating and dining area with perhaps a focal point of a fireplace or fire pit, a cooking space, lighting and a water feature. To meet this growing garden trend, manufacturers are offering outdoor furnishings and fabrics, kitchen appliances, and lighting fixtures that have a high level of refinement, quality and durability.

Furnishing outdoor rooms

The Great

OUTDOORS It’s summer time and the living is easy at Smith Mountain Lake. Life moves outdoors for activities on and around the lake as well as for relaxing and dining. In order to spend as much time outside as possible, many homeowners are creating outdoor "great rooms," incorporating a living room, dining room and kitchen for family gatherings and outdoor entertaining.

No outdoor room is complete without ample furniture for dining and lounging. Attractive, high-quality outdoor furniture also provides a smooth transition from the indoors to the outdoors and helps define the space as an extension of your home. In addition to chairs, consider furnishing an outdoor room with a love seat or two, end tables, and a coffee table to make a comfortable seating arrangement. Also don’t overlook the possibility of an indoor-outdoor carpet designed to withstand all that weather can throw at it. Karen Cromwell, Smith Mountain Laker entertaining columnist who lives on the Blackwater, laid an all-weather carpet over the paved area of her patio to provide a softer flooring for the "living room." Because the seating is in the middle of a much larger open space overlooking the lake, the carpet also visually defines the seating area. Charlie and Nancy Marshall have furnished their large deck overlooking the lake for both dining and outdoor lounging with matching, comfortable cushions on all the chairs. When Nancy t Nancy Marshall's elegant outdoor dining table is ready for entertaining. p A stone pizza oven is the focal point of Ron and Colleen Toothman's lakeside outdoor kitchen.

sets her glass top table for entertaining, it looks as elegant and pretty as an indoor dining table. Today, outdoor fabrics are almost indistinguishable from normal indoor upholstery material, and they come in a wide range of textures, patterns, and colors. In addition to being weatherproof, they are resistant to fading and staining. The colors remaining crisp and bright even when the fabric is dipped in chlorine bleach, and they wipe clean when splotched with staining food such as ketchup. You also don’t have to be limited to a narrow selection of pre made cushions. Indooroutdoor fabric is available on bolts for custom made cushions and pillows, and shoppers can take home swatches to test.

Fireplaces and fire pits

You can extend the outdoor living season and provide a pleasant focal point in your outdoor living room, with a fireplace or fire pit. Just as indoors, homeowners can opt for either wood burning or gas-fired hearths. Gas is less messy than wordburning fireplaces and fire pits, and makes log storage and firebuilding a task of the past. You also eliminate the problem of wood smoke blowing in an unwanted direction, but you miss out on the pleasant crackle of a traditional fire as well as the special smell of burning wood. If you don’t have a built-in fire pit as part of your landscape and patio design, you can derive the same pleasure from the portable fire bowls available at most home supply stores.

Outdoor kitchens

Whether it's a simple hibatchi or kettle style barbecue; a high-end kitchen complete with cook top, refrigerator, sink with running water, warming drawers, and a dishwasher; or a

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shorelines | 10TH ANNIVERSARY

Style | LAKE & GARDEN

Lake-area nurseries offer a broad range of services and specialties There are horticultural treasures at our fingertips at Smith Mountain Lake available at a wide variety of nurseries. Each nursery has a different strength or focus. Together, they add up to an excellent resource for both the avid gardener and those who want a low-maintenance landscape or who just want to express their creativity with a few well-planted containers.

The Growing Place

From the road you’d never guess the horticultural wonders available under the triple hoop houses at The Growing Place. In the 64,000-square-foot space, you’ll find a huge selection of perennials, including a wide choice of fern species, the latest exciting coral bells hybrids, sedums, hellebores, native plants, and hybrid coneflowers in a wide array of sunset colors. In the spring, you’ll find 50 varieties of tomatoes and an excellent selection of herbs, vegetables and hanging baskets. Owned by the Bayer family since 1982, Rachel Bayer, daughter of the founders, has been running The Growing Place since 1993. The Bayers grow 95 percent of their stock from tiny plugs, seeds and rooted cuttings. That’s a boon to customers because it means they are able to offer a wide selection of high-quality plants at low prices.

Lakescapes Nursery

A full-service nursery with two locations, Lakescapes provides landscape design and maintenance, has an excellent selection of trees, shrubs, annuals and perennials, and an informed staff to help customers make educated choices. But what makes Lakescapes stand out from other local nurseries is the incredible selection of ceramic containers. You’ll find hundreds of glazed pots in a wide variety of colors, shapes, sizes and designs ranging from traditional to avant-garde. It’s filled with a treasure trove of awesome amphora and urns. CONTINUED ON PAGE 28

 A touch of whimsy at Walter's Greenhouse.  From left, Walter's Greenhouse sells a wide assortment of flowers, herbs, and foliage plants as well as beautifully planted containersl; Ceramic containers in all sizes, shapes and colors are abundant at the Southlake location of Lakescapes Nursery.

IN FULL

BLOOM Story and photography by Catriona tudor ErlEr

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Nurseries at Smith Mountain Lake: Most Valuable Reference March/April 2010

Six outstanding nurseries around or near the lake were featured in this helpful reference piece, which included information about the services and products each business provides as well as the types of plants you’re likely to find there. The nurseries are: Blackwater Nursery, The Growing Place, Lakescapes Nursery, Moneta Farm and Home Center, Walter’s Greenhouse and Willowtree Nursery.

Style | LAKE & GARDEN

Craft Time!

Enhance a kid's day at SML with fun gardening projects Story and photography by Catriona tudor ErlEr The grandchildren are visiting and they've worn themselves out boating, swimming, jet skiing, wakeboarding, fishing and generally having a good time in and near the water. They need a break, but television and computer games aren't what you have in mind. Why not try a gardening project? There are numerous books on the market geared toward introducing children to gardening. One I particularly enjoy is Gardening with Kids by Catherine Woram and Martyn Cox. Gardening with Kids is rich with ideas and tips to help parents and grandparents inspire a love of gardening in children, and beautifully illustrated with captivating photographs of children enjoying the described activities. The first section provides a basic overview of the rudiments of gardening with a focus on children, but it is the subsequent chapters

that come alive with step-by-step garden-related projects suitable for kids of varying ages. The projects include simple activities like planting fast-sprouting seeds such as radishes and cress in egg shells decorated with faces. When the seeds sprout, the egg person has a fine head of "hair." Another fun project in the "Growing" chapter is creating a tower of plants by stacking pots of diminishing size on top of each other and then planting the edges with succulents, herbs or flowers. The book's "Making" chapter includes a number of fun possibilities - pressing flowers; creating an elf house with twigs, twine, acorns, felt and pipe cleaners; making pine cone animals; and potato printing. CONTINUED ON PAGE 26

 McKenna-Kate Gaudio (left) and Ben Gibson create a bird bath using a ceramic saucer, grout and colored stones. McKenna-Kate, 7, is the daughter of former Smith Mountain Laker publisher Micah Gaudio. Ben, 10, is the son of editor Andie Gibson.  McKenna-Kate arranges stones in her bird bath, then shows off the finished product. 24

May • June 2010 | SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKER

SMITHMOUNTAINLAKE.COM

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Children’s Crafts: Most Fun May/June 2010

After the children or grandchildren have worn themselves out with too much sun and water, change the pace with garden-focused crafts that can be done indoors or in the shade. We highlighted two fun, easy-to-do projects from the excellent book, “Gardening with Kids” by Catherine Woram and Martyn Cox. Laker residents Ben Gibson, who was 10 at the time, and McKenna-Kate Gaudio, 7, kindly allowed us to photograph them as they each painted a flower pot and created a mosaic bird bath from a clay pot saucer.

To read the original stories, log on to smithmountainlake.com/10. 32 November • December 2011 | SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKER

Smith Mountain Laker 10 Favorite Garden stories  

Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia's premier lifestyle and entertainment publication. Visit our web site at www.smithmountainlake.com.

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