A Shared Passion

What do professional horticulturists do in their leisure time? They plant a glorious garden, of course.

By Adam Levine

Photography by Helen Norman


“This garden reflects my long-standing interest in trees and shrubs, even though at Chanticleer the areas I tend rely on a lot of seasonal or annual color from perennials and annuals,” Dan says. “Peggy Anne, at Bailey Nurseries, came from a tree and shrub production background, but she has always been drawn to herbaceous plants. Between the two of us, we make one complete gardener.”

Dan had been gardening here for almost a dozen years when Peggy Anne moved east from Minnesota to share his life and his garden, and her fresh view of the place was welcomed. “She renewed my confidence in my own aesthetic,” Dan says. “She showed me how a collection of ‘onesies’ can be acceptable if there are masses or sweeps of other elements. She helped bring some sense and order to a landscape on which I’d been working for years.”

Take a tour of Dan and Peggy Ann's garden

One of Peggy Anne’s techniques for tying an assortment of diverse specimens together is to select a single variety of plant to mingle repeatedly throughout the bed. “In the borders by the front of the house, I used Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’ on both sides of the path to unite the two beds,” she says. The perennial ‘Caradonna’ bears slender violet flower spikes for many weeks in late spring and summer. “I planted them a little bit randomly so they seem to have grown up naturally, like tossing out a handful of bulbs and planting them where they land. In front of the fern bed, I planted Pulmonaria ‘Raspberry Splash’ for spring interest and a contrasting foliage texture.” In the shrub borders, she added large groups of groundcovers that suppress weeds and weave the garden together.