The Gettysburg Garden Club, through its Garden of the Month committee, presented September’s award to Leighton Rice, 265 E. Lincoln Ave., Gettysburg.
Gardens depend on the gardener’s philosophy with a few constraints set by the particular property, the house, the hardscape, and one’s time and energy.
Rice has lived at this address since shortly before the pandemic. His experiences working in the apple orchards and on the Rice company grounds, combined with his gardening skills, shaped his vision.
At the front of his house, Leighton’s garden reflects his sharp focus on “working with shapes and contours to give the landscaping a more refined look.” Textures of plants, rocks, trees, and shrubs are essential to him. He enjoys the process of carefully planning the components of his garden, which includes using some herbicides with knowledgeable respect; he is not a totally organic gardener.
A large Kousa dogwood, which offers a pleasing shape and summer shade, grows on the far side of the garden bed to the left of the flag-stoned front steps. This bed is well-mulched and has a curving contour edged by a nicely trimmed lawn. Pachysandra, the hydrangea, the Kodiak Orange Diervilla, and other perennials grow here.
On either side of the front entrance are ornamental grasses, tall enough to add interest but gracefully trimmed to be under control. In addition, Rice has effectively placed other grasses of varying shapes and color hues in the front beds: Skyracer Purple Moor, Black Mondo, and Muhly grasses, Ruby-Ribbons and Prairie Winds Totem Pole Switch grasses, Japanese-Forest and Transparent-Moor grasses .
The house was a traditional red brick when Rice arrived. He decided to paint the brick an off-white, which makes a beautiful background for the front plantings. The short front entrance walks from the driveway on the right curves gently along the garden bed on the right.
Near the driveway corner of the walk, Rice has planted a Hubbs Red-Willow Japanese Maple, which will balance the dogwood on the other side of the property. The garden bed contains round creek stones, which complement the color of the brick and set off the delicate shapes of the ornamental grasses planted there.
Well-spaced containers with coleus and other plants are also in this bed. A plot filled this year with Plumed Castle Celosia of vibrant reds, pinks, oranges, and yellows serves as a great accent, or ‘wildness’ as gardener Rice calls it. His children raised the celosia from seed; in future years, he will try other flowers in the plot, probably annuals, for their color and pizazz.
A shaded deck and porch are at the back of Leighton’s house. Tall, evergreen shrubs grow high against the porch railing; the tall red maple is on one side of the sloping yard.
He had a successful vegetable garden at the bottom of the slope for a few years where there is more sunlight. When he has time, and when the big and well-used trampoline is moved, there is a happy amount of space for future designs. Rice now plans to add other plants at the front of the house. One’s garden is constantly evolving, and, to paraphrase gardener Rice, it is fun to think about achieving an ultimate vision.
This is the last Garden of the Month this year. Anyone who wishes to nominate a property for an award in 2023 is asked to call or text Deb Steckler at 717-357-3623 or visit our website at www.gettysburggardenclub.com.