GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2015 show19
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19/4006. A Garden Can Become An Extension Of The House

Summary of Show

Overview Of The Garden
Eric imagines that when Douglas Chandor arrived at this site there wasn't the beautiful canopy here today. That is true, it was more a flat prairie with very few trees, primarily cedar elms. The trees ONE SEES TODAY, like the live oaks, were planted by Chandor and, now, 75 years later have grown into beautiful specimens. But the resulting shade does present some challenges from the ground up. The ground covers, mondo grass and liriope work well in this environment. The giant liriope provides a different texture from standard liriope.
For More Information Click here

Cox Mountain
One of the most important elements of this garden are the water features, most of which are connected. But it looks like they originate from the giant waterfall. This is COX MOUNTAIN and while it isn't the origin of all the water features it does look that way. It is about 19 feet tall and is built with enormous sandstone boulders that were brought in from west of the garden.
For More Information Click here

Small Falls
They next visit SMALL FALLS, it's a miniaturized version, not as grand as Cox Mountain, but probably more in scale with what most people could do in their yards. They've softened the stone wall with creeping fig. And continued the azalea theme and included a Japanese Maple. They've added some Sago Palms for a little drama and to provide a distinct feel, to make it different from its big brother, which gets more attention.
For More Information Click here

How The Garden Was Built
Chandor built the floor of the garden, determined where he wanted the canals and water features, laid the bottom, then built the edges up and added soil between them because he knew he wanted an exuberant garden, thus would need a lot of soil. That's HOW THE GARDEN WAS BUILT, it was built up instead of excavating down.
For More Information Click here

A Waterfall One Could Build At Home
Another is a CERAMIC POT that water gurgles through. Steven tells us that this was put in last year. It is something anyone could do, go to the store buy some easily obtained materials, come back and be in the recirculating business in an hour. Steven brought in the ceramic pot, then took some taller logs, set them in concrete, then used a chainsaw and leveled them off going from higher to lower.
For More Information Click here

The Hardscape
The HARDSCAPE in this garden was very important to Douglas Chandor. He cared about it a lot. It dictates the visitor experience. One is almost forced down certain paths which then set up amazing vistas. One axis goes all the way across the garden and ends in the grotto. Another is the driveway that cuts all the way to Cox mountain. There is an amazing amount of detail here but one doesn't notice it at 1st because it's so natural, plus the edges are softened with plants like liriope and little drifts of English Ivy. They add to the softness of the garden. The hardscape is rigidly laid out.
For More Information Click here

A Very Private Feeling Garden
Many paths converge on beautiful little garden rooms. But this time they come upon a magnificent room that feels like A REALLY PRIVATE SPACE. There is a tremendous change of elevation here. To achieve this elevation change Chandor used dynamite. That was done when one could buy dynamite at the hardware store. To add to the feeling of depth it has a canopy of trees overhead. It has a fountain which isn't presently turned on so they can hear one another talk, but the sounds come into this area from all over the garden.
For More Information Click here

Silver Garden
They next visit the SILVER GARDEN. It's an amazing place, very symmetrically laid out. The hard elements are softened by plant material once again. There is a small fountain and a concentric ring surrounding a cedar elm. A curved pergola is an amazing structure and the trademark for the garden. The hardscape elements are so well crafted that they kind of fool one into thinking this is symmetrical. But it's far from that. There are quadrants of grass which on first look appear to be the same but in reality are very different. It is called the Silver Garden because initially it was planted with silver plants with grey silver and blue hues.
For More Information Click here

The Bowling Green
The next area is the BOWLING GREEN. It is 17 feet wide and 100 feet long almost the official size of 100 by 20. This was the only piece of turf Chandor cultivated. In Chandor's day they would play bocce ball here and Steven still sees people playing bocce ball in this area today. This area does present some challenges because it has transitional areas. In the middle it is full sun but on both ends its shade, in some areas it gets half day sun. So it goes from full sun to full shade.
For More Information Click here

The Boxwood Garden
The BOXWOOD GARDEN is the next and last stop. There are boxwoods all around. There is an 11 foot window from the house, which faces north, and overlooks this garden. Chandor's studio was built around the window and garden. There are a lot of neat features here. The brick sidewalk with a very brick pattern surrounds the elegant, bronze, nude sculpture. It sits atop an interesting fountain that is made of a repurposed tractor transmission case and front wheel assembly which has been dressed up with some custom brick work.
For More Information Click here

 

LINKS:

Chandor Gardens

Omni Ft. Worth Hotel

Plant List

 

Show #19/4006. A Garden Can Become An Extension Of The House

Transcript of Show

Gardening is a delicate blend of art and science. In this Episode GardenSMART visits the home of a well known portrait artist whose canvas of choice was nature. Portrait painter Douglas Chandor began designs for his home and gardens in 1934. The site was originally called White Shadows but was changed to Chandor by his wife after his death in 1953. The garden is carefully carved out of a caliche hillside that had once been his in-laws cow pasture. It consists of 7 interlocking gardens with English and Japanese features. Water is a prominent component of the gardens as waterfalls, fountains and ponds wind their way through the property. The garden was opened to the public in 1938 and soon achieved regional attention. It was Chandor's wish that his garden would inspire Texas men to take up gardening. This garden reflects Chandors ability to transform thought and landscape into a place of beauty.

Steven Chamblee came to Chandor Gardens from the Ft. Worth Botanic Gardens at the peak of his illustrious career as a horticulturist. Steven has put his many years of experience to work in bringing vibrant artistic expression to the garden and has done a masterful job restoring Chandor Gardens to its original beauty.

Eric meets Steven. When meeting a gardener Eric is always interested in learning how they found their way into the field of horticulture. Steven's was a little convoluted. He worked for his father planting trees and he had a lawn service when he was about 18. Then he started reading books and realized that there was a lot more to horticulture, a lot he didn't know. So he began attending junior college part time, eventually got his act together then went to Tarleton State University and received a Bachelors degree. After that he was fortunate to be accepted into Longwood Gardens graduate program and earned a Masters in Public Horticulture Administration. Longwood is a magnificent place to learn, it's the mecca of gardening. After graduating he had a perfectly reasonable job at the Ft. Worth Botanic Garden. It was a great job but he knew they needed someone at Chandor. He had known Chandor Gardens, it was a humble little garden but the garden was at a real turning point in its existence. It had been abandoned once for about 16 years, a couple bought it, brought it up to speed, then the City bought it. He was the 1st person being hired by the city and thinks he came here because he was more concerned with the fate of the garden, more concerned about what would happen to the garden than what would happen to him. He has grown older and more tired since he came here but the garden has done very well. Steven has certainly gotten Eric interested, he wants to see the garden.

Eric imagines that when Douglas Chandor arrived at this site there wasn't the beautiful canopy here today. That is true, it was more a flat prairie with very few trees, primarily cedar elms. The trees ONE SEES TODAY, like the live oaks, were planted by Chandor and, now, 75 years later have grown into beautiful specimens. But the resulting shade does present some challenges from the ground up. The ground covers, mondo grass and liriope work well in this environment. The giant liriope provides a different texture from standard liriope. English ivy works well, sometimes too well because it will go up a tree. For shrubs they use Turk's Cap, American Beauty Berry in dry areas and Nandina. Steven is fond of kaleidoscope Abelia in the shady areas because it has bright colored foliage, it greens out a little in the summer but generally works well here. Azaleas are all over the garden. They are fun and there are different colors flowering at different times. One of the reasons Steven wanted to bring azaleas back to this garden was because Chandor had them here. They were obviously one of his favorite plants because he planted so many. Eric wonders how azaleas work in Texas soils. Steven explains - These aren't Texas soils. Steven has brought in aged pine finds, mixed in a little peat moss and mounded it up. But Douglas Chandor used a little different approach, he got big lead liners and filled them full of peat moss.

For the intermediate shade trees they have a lot of Japanese maples and they are wonderful for a shade garden. The Bloodgood Japanese Maple has a red tint throughout summer. In climates like Oregon it will get a deep, dense red but in Texas it bleaches out a little. In areas with a little more sun they use Bridal Wreath, it's one of the favorites here. Eric notices a Pindo Palm. One could consider it a shrub or an accent plant. Japanese Boxwood works well here. It's a good transition plant from sunny areas to shade because it adapts well to shade. Every now and then they loose a tree limb so they want plants that will adapt to a little more sun. Youpon Holly especially the Dwarf Youpon Holly works well as a little hedge. Steven doesn't like the fact that it is rather brittle and if a kid steps on it it's over. Boxwood provides a little leeway on that front.

One of the most important elements of this garden are the water features, most of which are connected. But it looks like they originate from the giant waterfall. This is COX MOUNTAIN and while it isn't the origin of all the water features it does look that way. It is about 19 feet tall and is built with enormous sandstone boulders that were brought in from west of the garden. They used fairly crude materials when building this garden, for example they had a 2 ton truck with an A frame built of 3 inch pipe and then a winch on that. One boulder here probably weighs 6 tons so they may not have been able to do anything but throw it off the truck and it stayed where it landed. The fountains are recirculating water fountains. Cox Mountain is the largest and they then range down in size. Small Falls is another and there are little ponds throughout. They're all filled with well water, all have recirculating pumps because there is no natural spring or anything like that here. It's amazing the amount of coolness we get from water and the sense of tranquility is outstanding. The sound of water is so peaceful. One has a sense of water flowing through the garden with all the little rivers, creek and ponds. Obviously the white noise created by the fountains drowns out a lot of noises from around the neighborhood. Steven works here day in and day out but when he turns them off at night it's interesting, the silence seems odd.

They next visit SMALL FALLS, it's a miniaturized version, not as grand as Cox Mountain, but probably more in scale with what most people could do in their yards. They've softened the stone wall with creeping fig. And continued the azalea theme and included a Japanese Maple. They've added some Sago Palms for a little drama and to provide a distinct feel, to make it different from its big brother, which gets more attention. They cross the water on millstones. 3 are actual millstones, 1 is a recreated millstone, because, Steven is guessing, Chandor must have run out. Steven also points out a 7 sided gazebo made of leyland cyprus which was made from left over wood. The inclusion of all the different elements adds a distinctive feel to the garden.

A red cedar provides a ceiling over the start of the canal system which goes about 200 feet. Along the way there are various aquatic plants. A Soft Rush is presently in full flower, its a native plant which is nice. Petrified wood provides some edging.

Chandor built the floor of the garden, determined where he wanted the canals and water features, laid the bottom, then built the edges up and added soil between them because he knew he wanted an exuberant garden, thus would need a lot of soil. That's HOW THE GARDEN WAS BUILT, generally it was built up instead of excavating down. And, it's beautifully done. Eric feels that many of the most successful man made water features are the ones that mimic nature and this garden and its water features remind him of those little springs one sees in the mountains where the water is just tumbling down the rocks. And that creates a sense of coolness and a sense of relaxation. And it's done well in this garden.

The guys move on to look at water features that might be more practical for homeowners. Eric likes the fact that as one walks around a corner or a path there are water features that provide very different sounds and looks. One has a little squirt of water going into what resembles a large pipe. It has a low, hollow, rumbling sound which is neat.

Another is a CERAMIC POT that water gurgles through. Steven tells us that this was put in last year. It is something anyone could do, go to the store buy some easily obtained materials, come back and be in the recirculating business in an hour. Steven brought in the ceramic pot, then took some taller logs, set them in concrete, then used a chainsaw and leveled them off going from higher to lower. The 1st side was easy, trying to make the 2nd side match was the trick. But it provides an unusual look. They will soften it up with ferns later in the summer but it is a real simple fountain.

The HARDSCAPE in this garden was very important to Douglas Chandor. He cared about it a lot. It dictates the visitor experience. One is almost forced down certain paths which then set up amazing vistas. One axis goes all the way across the garden and ends in the grotto. Another is the driveway that cuts all the way to Cox mountain. There is an amazing amount of detail here but one doesn't notice it at 1st because it's so natural, plus the edges are softened with plants like liriope and little drifts of English Ivy. They add to the softness of the garden. The hardscape is rigidly laid out. The patterns and squareness are softened with plants and that is what provides the naturalistic feel. What are some of the materials used? Flagstone is utilized. Flagstone varies wherever one is in this country, the local material happens to be sandstone. They also have utilized limestone as well as bricks. Much of the bricks came from the Tharber Brick Factory which was about 35 miles west of the garden. It was operated between 1893 and 1933 so it was regional and time appropriate to include in this garden. Since this garden has a lot of brick they try to find brick when building another pathway.

In addition to the pathways there are a lot of other hardscape elements. Walls are an example. They certainly add a degree of formality and that could tend to feel rigid but, again, by using plant material, particularly flowing plants, they do a tremendous job of softening the hardscape.

Steven doesn't obsess over the fact that there might be leaves here and there. That's OK, it adds to the feel and tells where one is as well as lending a bit of seasonality. Don't be worried about making sure paths are scrubbed clean. Obviously when they blow the pathways they blow them clean but don't worry about keeping them sterile or anything like that.

Many paths converge on beautiful little garden rooms. But this time they come upon a magnificent room that feels like A REALLY PRIVATE SPACE. There is a tremendous change of elevation here. To achieve this elevation change Chandor used dynamite. That was done when one could buy dynamite at the hardware store. To add to the feeling of depth it has a canopy of trees overhead. It has a fountain which isn't presently turned on so they can hear one another talk, but the sounds come into this area from all over the garden. And, it's magical. The bulbs have faded a bit. But they still remind Steven of Dallas Blooms. The area is immersed in color, one can loose themselves in the environment, there is a peace and calm in this garden. Again, the area is surrounded with walls and there is a lushness, an almost tropical feel although there aren't any tropical plants. The walls are covered with English Ivy that looks very happy, it's lush and green. The dry stacked stone wall is also covered with ivy. They sheer the English Ivy off once a year to allow new growth. And that new, lush growth is what gives this area the amazing tropical feel.

This area has a lot of formal elements with the holly borders and the structure of the trees in all 4 corners. Steven thinks the hollies are spectacular but his favorite is the fresh growth on the Japanese boxwood.

They next visit the SILVER GARDEN. It's an amazing place, very symmetrically laid out. The hard elements are softened by plant material once again. There is a small fountain and a concentric ring surrounding a cedar elm. A curved pergola is an amazing structure and the trademark for the garden. The hardscape elements are so well crafted that they kind of fool one into thinking this is symmetrical. But it's far from that. There are quadrants of grass which on first look appear to be the same but in reality are very different. It is called the Silver Garden because initially it was planted with silver plants with grey silver and blue hues. This garden is moon lit in the summer so at night it has a silver sheen. This garden is primarily a summer garden and during Chandor's day they had what they called "fries" here. Today we would call them "barbecues." They called them chicken roasts or chicken fries back then. It's a wonderful place to entertain, it's right off the house. And with the nice quadrants it's a space designed for entertaining. It has turf areas and wider paths. The other smaller paths can accommodate even more guests. Even today they put tables and chairs and decorations all over the area and it quickly turns into a party.

It's important to remember that good garden design takes into consideration the fact that the space should appear to be lived in. The garden becomes an extension of the house. It's neat to see the way these different garden rooms have been used. They all seem to provide a recreational feel.

The next area is the BOWLING GREEN. It is 17 feet wide and 100 feet long almost the official size of 100 by 20. This was the only piece of turf Chandor cultivated. In Chandor's day they would play bocce ball here and Steven still sees people playing bocce ball in this area today. This area does present some challenges because it has transitional areas. In the middle it is full sun but on both ends it's shade, in some areas it gets half day sun. So it goes from full sun to full shade. They try to make it look all the same so it will be aesthetically pleasing thus have 3 different types of grass here - St. Augustine, Bermuda, both of which are very common, and Tall Fescue. Tall Fescue requires a little more juice in the summer but it will make it through with care. Eric likes the way it was designed. The players are on a lower level, while the observers are up above the playing field. It has stone walls surrounding and little gutters on the edges. The gutters would catch the ball if rolled too far. Today this area is used primarily for weddings. Chairs are lined up on either side and the center is where the bride and groom walk. They get married in the front, which is in front of a fountain. It's a Chandor tradition to turn the fountain off during the ceremony so everyone can hear a bit better, then turn it back on when the bride and groom kiss. The whole audience goes wild every time this happens, it's kind of magic.

The BOXWOOD GARDEN is the next and last stop. There are boxwoods all around. There is an 11 foot window from the house, which faces north, and overlooks this garden. Chandor's studio was built around the window and garden. There are a lot of neat features here. The brick sidewalk with a very brick pattern surrounds the elegant, bronze, nude sculpture. It sits atop an interesting fountain that is made of a repurposed tractor transmission case and front wheel assembly which has been dressed up with some custom brick work. So there is a lot going on in this space. Initially it seems complicated but upon further inspection it's pretty simple. Eric thinks with many of the garden rooms we've visited, but particularly this space, these could be anyone's patio, anyone's front entrance. Something like this doesn't require specific knowledge of plants. It's a simple design laid out with a few repeated elements. Eric also likes what has been done with the brick work. It can be tempting to use a strict linear path but there is something interesting about making a pattern. This has a fish pattern and bricked raised bed etchings that are not just a straight line. It's simple but elegant elements that make a small area like this fantastic. And the bonus is they're easy to maintain, there is very little maintenance in this room.

In this Episode we visited a shade garden that's done a masterful job of creating warm, intimate spaces and we've picked up tips on how to apply those design principles to our own gardens. Eric thanks Steven for sharing this garden. We've learned a tremendous amount. Chandor Gardens is beautiful.

 

LINKS

Chandor Gardens

Omni Ft. Worth Hotel

Plant List

 


   
 
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