Nina Schneider told us that when we saw Susan Smith’s garden, it would blow our minds. That is something, coming from a garden designer with a fabulous garden. It was mind-blowing. Susan’s garden won Philly’s Best Garden just a week or so before our visit, and Philadelphia knows gardening.
As we entered her front courtyard from the street, we noticed our Campania Faccia planters perched on the top of her 6’+ high stone wall corner posts. Peter said that she really likes to have fun with her garden. She changes the color emphasis every year and incorporates accessories that appeal to her, no matter what they are. We began our tour in the front courtyard which I noticed had an iron doormat with a frog pattern; there were a number of tasteful frog ornaments here and there. Her accent colors this year are cobalt blue and silver. She found cobalt blue glass mannequin heads at an estate sale; her gardener made pedestals for them and they decorate her front shade garden.
Susan's cobalt blue glass heads.
I really like the contrast of the variegated succulent in the cobalt blue pot; it really pops. She bought new silver glazed terra-cotta
Susan Smith's planters and hose pot.
Campania hose pots and immediately determined that ordinary green garden hoses would look hideous with them, so she searched and found silver garden hoses to match.
As we proceeded around to the side, we passed her new bee hives painted to match the green trim of her home.
She has become a beekeeper within the past year. It was fascinating learning about the beekeeping classes, the inspector coming to check them for lice, and more. One panel of honeycomb can yield 30 lbs. of honey. yum
Passing the beehives, we came upon a charming vignette. The large green wooden structure was part of a porch that declined; she wanted to save part and used it as a fabulous garden wall. Huge healthy Hydrangea were in abundance as well as Hostas by the dozen.
Susan's side garden, entrance to back garden.
Susan Smith's Medici Elipse fountain in Hydrangea.
As we walked through the entrance into the back garden, we walked over a ceramic floral image that had been imbedded into the stone pathway. To our left, a Campania Medici Elipse was nestled under a low hanging tree nearly engulfed by a white Hydrangea. As we passed from area to area, we realized that the garden was definitely divided into rooms and in fact she mentioned that it was designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Peck, who was the creator of the garden rooms concept.
She had incorporated fountains and bird baths throughout her garden, adding to the lush ambiance. As soon as we had passed the Medici Elipse fountain, we could hear a
great watery splashing and discovered it was coming from a large Campania Longwood Gardens frog pond spitter. A large koi pond with floating silver gazing balls was host to the frog spitter; it was definitely a place to linger.
Then, we found the very large Peter Pan bird house; the replica of the Darlings’ home on the front, a decomposing pirate ship on the back and all manner of Peter Pan and Lost Boy sayings decorating the sides. This is garden fun.
Peter Pan's Bird House
Patio with LED cone lights.
But the most unique features probably were the white opaque cones lit with LED lights on each side of one area of the patio. The interior of her home is contemporary, so they are compatible and she loves them. Why not?
The opposite end of the patio is bound by a large green arbor covered with New Dawn roses and a lavender Clematis on each side. Every rose in the garden has a Clematis companion. To the left is another shade bed with a bird bath and a large
Susan Smith's rose-covered back patio.
simple low round fountain with a millstone top, all very subtle and serene. She did tell us that while she was away for a few days, her Greek gardener had taken it upon himself to power wash all the lovely green moss off the patio stones and replace the lovely grit between the stones with light beige play sand. He left on a trip to Greece before she arrived hom, which probably saved his life. He will be rectifying all of his good intentions. It’s always something, no matter what a great garden you have. Want to move to Pennsylvania, anyone?