Garden gives spectacular views through home’s windows

Published 6:53 am Sunday, August 4, 2013

Column: Serendipity Gardens, by Carol Hegel Lang

As I sit in my kitchen at the antique oak table sipping a cold glass of lemonade I have the most amazing view of the gardens on the south lawn. Even though this article is being written on July 15 and won’t be published for a few weeks I just had to share this with all of my faithful readers. It is noon and the temperature is in the low 80s already with just a light breeze blowing the flag and not a cloud in the sky. A gorgeous summer day indeed!

Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang

My kitchen faces south and there are five large windows situated in this angle bay area as two face east, two south and one west they provide quite a panoramic view of the gardens. As I look out the east-facing window I can see a tall stump, the remnant of a tree taken down a number of years ago. On this stump two small American flags fly daily to remind me that freedom isn’t free. Throughout the gardens you will find several other stumps that I have incorporated into my gardens, too.

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This stump in the front yard is circled with landscape blocks and filled with rocks. Sitting in it are two old coal buckets filled with pink double impatiens, blue arrows juncos and Innocence Nemesia. Just a bit of color to surround Old Glory and brighten up this old stump and give me something pretty to look at while I eat breakfast every morning.

By moving my eyes to the right I can gaze out the second window that faces east and south. It brings me to the end of the driveway where a tall brown urn stands welcoming people into my gardens. The urn is planted to overflowing with Red Star dracena, purple angelonia, coral ivy geraniums and Snow Princess alyssum. It really makes a pretty statement as it invites you to wander down the driveway along the border garden that is 1 foot by 40 feet and filled with bright blooming flowers. Several yellow rudbeckias with brown centers are bordered with bright yellow and orange cosmos and pastel statice. As we move our eyes along the border we are greeted by tall kiss-me-over the garden gate with its pendulous pink blooms adding a bit of whimsy to the border. Yellow daylilies, purple phlox, sunflowers for the goldfinch to snack on, a clump of dill for the swallowtail butterflies to lay their eggs on, lovely purple liatris, self-seeding yellow coreopsis, Victoria blue salvia, Asiatic and oriental lilies in yellows and pinks, bright red celosia, stella de’oro daylilies, lime green zinnias and another urn just like the one at the beginning of the border. All of this in one small border garden!

Directly under the two south facing windows are tall orange ditch lilies and self-sewn swamp milkweed that provide a food source for the monarch butterfly when it lays its eggs on the leaves. This is called a host plant, and it is the monarch’s only source of food. From these two windows I can also look out into the corner garden filled with lilies, rudbeckia, daylilies, solidago, phlox and many different hosta. Just to the front of this garden stands a white bird bath, again surrounded by landscape block and filled with rock. Two lime green containers are filled with coral-red petunias. In the center of the corner gardens stands a windmill with blue morning glories climbing to the top. A small garden flag and cobalt blue gazing ball are accents in this garden.

The south windows also give me a view of the three tall pines trees standing in front of the split-rail fence. Oh, how I love to hear the winds whispering through the pines to remind me of my grandfather’s farm in Iowa. This also gives me a view of the outhouse/tool shed with garden ornaments on either side of it. The rusty cream can holds Frizzle Sizzle pansies in vibrant shades of yellow and purple with frilly edges on them. Who doesn’t love pansies with their cute faces?

Now as I look out the west/south window I see the cutting garden sizzling in the summer heat. This verse from Phillipians 4:8 NIV says it all: “Whatever is lovely…think about such things.” Bright orange coneflowers tower above the pink and blue larkspurs, purple phlox and liatris cool down the bright yellow, orange, pink, red and purple zinnias. Lacy white ammi majus dances in the breeze while daylilies in several shades of yellow and mauve, orange butterfly weed, bachelor buttons in varying shades of blues, coreopsis, marigolds, balsam and poppy seed heads add interest after the blooms have faded away. And last but not least cosmos in many shades of pink and burgundy cover the garden with color. A couple of sunflowers sewn by the birds and kiss-mes stand tall in the center of the garden acting as sentries. This garden has so much going on in it, a real treat for my eyes.

If all of this isn’t enough to satisfy my love of flowers and color we move on to the Victorian gazebo garden. The centerpiece of this garden is a tall gazebo towering above the flowers with Pretty Pink mandevilla climbing up the sides.A small bicycle holds yellow celosia and Double Rose Chai calibrachoa. Most of the accents in this garden are cobalt blue, and the daylilies are in varying shades of pink. A red stainless steel gazing ball draws attention to the center of the garden where a Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea is planted. What a view I have from these windows.


Carol Hegel Lang is an Albert Lea resident and local green thumb. Her email is