Mitzi's interest in garden history started 30 years ago when she came upon a 1932 book entitled The Fragrant Path by Louise Beebe Wilder. (The book was reprinted in 1974 under the title The Fragrant Garden and it later became the inspiration for her business name) Reading about gardening for fragrance lead her to a fascination with Old Roses, which expanded to all old fashioned plants, and then old-fashioned gardens, and finally the study of garden style in general.

She specializes in restoring old gardens, or creating new ones, that reflect the period the house was built or are, at the very least, in harmony with the architectural style of the house. In the case of older houses, she looks for old drawings or remnants of previous gardens to provide a guideline for the "garden to be". Depending on the significance of previous "layers", this can be a minor/major step in the design process. The resulting design and planting can follow strict guidelines with plants chosen that were available only before a determined date, or can be more loosely planned with species of old fashioned plants but more modern cultivars.

Mitzi has created several personal gardens in homes from California, to Oregon, and more recently the Austin area. She has owned a series of Craftsman Bungalows, and the gardens have been period appropriate and included various collections of old fashioned plants and roses. Her home garden usually doubles as a display garden, and she takes clients throught the spaces showing them plants and finishes that might be appropriate for use in their own garden. Many of the plants are (of course) fragrant, as well as suitable to the particular climate/soil.

She is not limited to older styles and has done a number of more modernistic designs (see Dannon and Susan's Garden [this will be a new garden that I'll send photos and text soon] under PROJECTS. The constant factor in her design practice is that gardens are approriate to the style of the house and tailored to the client's wishes, in so far as is possible

She is not limited to older styles (her training in landscape architecture gave great emphasis to more modern styles) and recently designed a garden for a 1986 modernist house in Palo Alto that is featured under PROJECTS elsewhere in this site.

This web site does not include a comprehensive summary of garden history or style, but following are a few representative periods/styles (which work well on a residential scale), with abbreviated descriptions for your consideration




THE PARADISE GARDEN

This style is based on the old Islamic style of the Middle East and features formal, often foursquare layout with water as a major feature, along with fruit trees, roses, and other fragrant plants. The Islamic garden has been described as "a place for the pleasures of the senses and the mind". This style works well in our climate and is particularly well suited to Spanish or other Mediterranean style houses.

THE MEDIEVAL GARDEN
Obviously, there are no houses in Texas from this period, but the style works well with classical/formal architectural styles such as Federal or Colonial, in which the house is regular in shape and doors and windows centered or balanced, etc. The garden would be enclosed by a fence or wall, laid out in geometrical fashion and frequently subdivided into small spaces. It might include statuary and/or trellis, and feature herbs, fruits and vegetables, and fragrant flowers.

ITALIAN RENAISSANCE GARDEN
In keeping with a classical Mediterranean house, this style features a geometrically ordered division of space into smaller compartments. Included might be an orchard area, a wood, and patterned beds filled with herbs and flowers near the house. Other common features are pergola-covered walkways, water fountains, and classic garden statuary/ornament.






THE AMERICAN COLONIAL GARDEN

The classic features of this style are plantings laid out on formal geometric axis, clipped evergreen topiary, and flowers, herbs, fruit, and produce planted within the sheared box hedges. A fountain, gazebo, or piece of statuary might be placed in the center, or at the end of the central axis.

THE VICTORIAN GARDEN
Victorian garden style was most often formal, and very flowery, featuring all sorts of plants imported from far and wide. "Bedding out" was the rage, with annuals and bulbs planted in intricate patterns and changed out two or three times a year. Color took precedence over form and line, and variety over repetition. Some back gardens might be more informal/curvilinear in outline, and feature collections of plants, such as a fern garden, rose garden etc.





THE ARTS & CRAFTS GARDEN

The Arts & Crafts garden remains generally formal in layout, but with a more naturalistic style of planting. Frequently featured are stone paving and walls, pergolas, formal ponds, herbaceous borders, and rose gardens. Plantings are mixed and often spill over the edges of the hardscape (walls, paving, etc.)

THE MODERNIST GARDEN
The modern garden is varied--no quick description can include all its possible aspects. In some cases it is simple, with clean lines and architectural plantings. On occasion, it borrows from the Far Eastern traditions of mastery of nature into small spaces. It has also incorporated, at times, the abstract forms of modern paintings. More recently, desire to contrast with urban life in general has brought a more natural and wild feel to the residential garden. In California, the modern tradition often features an intimate connection between indoor and outdoor spaces. This is accomplished through the use of enclosed courtyards, glass walls and doors, and kitchens and living rooms opening out onto outdoor eating/entertainment areas.

 

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