by Mary Jasch
Long ago, in the old mill town of Saugerties, New York, in the mid-Hudson Valley, a country church surrounded by woodland provided peace and solace to residents. Today, that country church with its stained-glass Gothic windows is the home of artist and garden designer Ann Krupp and her husband. Her beautiful garden is built upon the church’s obsolete parking lot.
In back, the vegetable garden sits on gravel on top of the former parking lot. Krupp trucked in all the soil to fill raised beds including two in the center of the garden so the deer will see them and not jump the short fence. Oregano growing outside along the fence also helps and gravel keeps the weeds down.
Along the woodland/cultivated ecotone, Krupp enlisted a backhoe to dig a trench for a garden bed out of the “basically solid rock” substrate and filled it with trucked-in soil. She maintains the bed 12 feet into the woods to keep Nature at bay, though it’s not much of a problem here due to the solid rock. Instead, she aims to plant tall hydrangeas and Japanese maples as backdrop to the perennials though every hole, she notes, must be “pick-axed and wrestled from a rock ledge.”
Gardens in progress include the shrub border on the edge of a patch of woodland where white pines recently died. Part of their boles still stand and will become works of human art among ogon spirea, kerria and limelight hydrangea. Other shrubs stretch along the edge, even buddleia in dappled sun.
Around front, several flowering beds and borders flourish in sun and shade. Under an ancient sugar maple that surely witnessed worshippers, a garden of foliage-rich plants grows: bronze-leaf ligularia, white-variegated carex, solid gold and variegated golden Hakone grass, Japanese painted fern, hosta, purply heuchera, myrtle (looks good here) and potted red fuschia.
Further out, tough stuff like Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, rudbeckia, agastache and creeping lysimachia provide a home for Krupp’s hand-made wooden towers. This garden is defined by flat stone; others are enclosed by stone walls that Krupp built. (“I build a lot of stone walls.”)
Borders along the driveway feature foliage, while highlighting blossoms when they come, run up to the hillside garden that dives to a clearing where Krupp creates a different work in stone every year. Eighteen inches of soil were put on this hill. It’s the only place on the property where you can dig and not hit rock. In Krupp style, foliage is the thing with white variegated hosta, Japanese painted fern and others in arresting combination cascading down the hill.
Don’t miss Ann Krupp’s up-close and interesting garden on its Open Day with The Garden Conservancy.
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published August 26, 2013