July 25, 2022

“The garden has been my retreat, my laboratory, and my playground,” Rita Thomas told us at the Madison Fling, a 3-day tour for gardeners on social media, held last month in and around Madison, Wisconsin. For 35 years, Rita has been playing in her Fitchburg garden, learning about plants and design as she went along. Today she describes herself as “a plant collector, seeking out the unusual, the best of the species, or the latest introductions. My major interests have been native woodland plants, daylilies, and irises.”

As at other Madison gardens, I was struck by the number of gorgeous clematis. Rita encourages vines to twine up into her trees, adding a surprising spark of color amid gray branches.

Backlit purple clematis rambling through a conifer’s bristly branches

Behind a picket fence in her back garden, Rita grows vegetables next to a charming, slope-roofed shed.

The fence makes an irresistible scaffold for another clematis.

Along one side of the garden, a fully screened shade house is made inviting with white wicker, a hammock, and a hanging chair.

Shade lovers in shades of green

In the sunny center of the garden, a metal pergola sheltering hot-pink, wrought-iron chairs holds court. The bright sun made it hard to capture details of the surrounding plantings.

Another angle shows how far her backyard extends, with the distant fence shadowed below several large trees, giving her an enviable mix of shade and sun to garden in.

An old tree stump makes a perfect perch for a pebbly birdhouse, with purple clematis twining upward.

Another stump supports a raven sculpture.

Look closely and you can see another raven atop the metal pergola.

Fellow Flingers Theo and Kevin of The Fuchsietum

I marveled over this clematis with streaky purple-and-lavender petals.

Up the side-garden path, where elevated beds sparkle with colorful gazing globes atop black posts.

And where martagon lilies nod beside a blue gazing globe.

Up next: The wildly imaginative and epic-scale gardens of the Epic Systems campus. For a look back at Flinger fun at Rotary Botanical Gardens, click here.

I welcome your comments. Please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading in an email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post. And hey, did someone forward this email to you, and you want to subscribe? Click here to get Digging delivered directly to your inbox!

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Digging Deeper

Join the mailing list for Garden Spark! Hungry to learn about garden design from the experts? I’m hosting a series of talks by inspiring designers, landscape architects, and authors a few times a year in Austin. These are limited-attendance events that sell out quickly, so join the Garden Spark email list to be notified in advance. Simply click this link and ask to be added. The 6th season kicks off in fall 2022.

All material (C) 2022 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

The post A sun-to-shade retreat in the garden of Rita Thomas appeared first on Digging.

For 35 years Rita Thomas has been playing in her Fitchburg, WI, garden, learning about plants and design as she went along…. Read More
The post A sun-to-shade retreat in the garden of Rita Thomas appeared first on Digging.Read MoreFeedzy

July 25, 2022

“The garden has been my retreat, my laboratory, and my playground,” Rita Thomas told us at the Madison Fling, a 3-day tour for gardeners on social media, held last month in and around Madison, Wisconsin. For 35 years, Rita has been playing in her Fitchburg garden, learning about plants and design as she went along. Today she describes herself as “a plant collector, seeking out the unusual, the best of the species, or the latest introductions. My major interests have been native woodland plants, daylilies, and irises.”

As at other Madison gardens, I was struck by the number of gorgeous clematis. Rita encourages vines to twine up into her trees, adding a surprising spark of color amid gray branches.

Backlit purple clematis rambling through a conifer’s bristly branches

Behind a picket fence in her back garden, Rita grows vegetables next to a charming, slope-roofed shed.

The fence makes an irresistible scaffold for another clematis.

Along one side of the garden, a fully screened shade house is made inviting with white wicker, a hammock, and a hanging chair.

Shade lovers in shades of green

In the sunny center of the garden, a metal pergola sheltering hot-pink, wrought-iron chairs holds court. The bright sun made it hard to capture details of the surrounding plantings.

Another angle shows how far her backyard extends, with the distant fence shadowed below several large trees, giving her an enviable mix of shade and sun to garden in.

An old tree stump makes a perfect perch for a pebbly birdhouse, with purple clematis twining upward.

Another stump supports a raven sculpture.

Look closely and you can see another raven atop the metal pergola.

Fellow Flingers Theo and Kevin of The Fuchsietum

I marveled over this clematis with streaky purple-and-lavender petals.

Up the side-garden path, where elevated beds sparkle with colorful gazing globes atop black posts.

And where martagon lilies nod beside a blue gazing globe.

Up next: The wildly imaginative and epic-scale gardens of the Epic Systems campus. For a look back at Flinger fun at Rotary Botanical Gardens, click here.

I welcome your comments. Please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading in an email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post. And hey, did someone forward this email to you, and you want to subscribe? Click here to get Digging delivered directly to your inbox!

__________________________

Digging Deeper

Join the mailing list for Garden Spark! Hungry to learn about garden design from the experts? I’m hosting a series of talks by inspiring designers, landscape architects, and authors a few times a year in Austin. These are limited-attendance events that sell out quickly, so join the Garden Spark email list to be notified in advance. Simply click this link and ask to be added. The 6th season kicks off in fall 2022.

All material (C) 2022 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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