A Formal Garden

A Formal Garden

Part of Ep. 1101 Garden Style

Join Cory Coffman on a tour of her formal garden in Bayside.  Although the basic design is a grid pattern, the plants, textures and color break up the hard lines.

Premiere date: Mar 01, 2003

Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

I'm Cory Coffman, and this garden was designed by my husband and I, Randy Morrison. We live on about a half-acre on a city lot of Bayside. Both Randy and I are designers. He's an architect and I'm a designer. So, we're very used to working on a grid pattern. So, everything in this yard is in some type of a grid pattern, whether it be the type of stone we used in the patio, the fence, the walkways and how you're pulled through the garden. Everything is in a grid pattern.

But then, the looseness comes from the plants, and the textures and the colors. And that's kind of what breaks up all of those hard lines. But the paths really do pull you through the garden. And each path leads you a different way. So, you don't look at the garden the same way twice. And that was a main thing that we wanted to get.

The crab trees that were planted are more ornamental. And they're actually being formed right now in a box. You know, that control. And underneath, there's a pattern that has been done with purple Coral Bells and Sedum. And the textures in that, along with the Artemesia, it's just a very soft place to go to. And it's just something you wouldn't expect to find. It's not about the flowers, it's about the patterns.

The main focus of the yard is probably the perennial beds. And those are the four main beds. And in the center is the Cattail fountains, which my husband had done out of copper. And the water just kind of comes up and dances, and just fills the air. And the birds are in the background. And one thing that most people probably wouldn't think of putting in is Angelica. It's the third year, and it's supposed to be a biannual, but the seed heads on it are incredible. It gets seven feet tall, and it just kind of pulls your eye in. And it balances well with the arbor that's there that's filled with the Honey Suckle that, right now, it's just, with the punches of pinks and yellows. So, the two kind of really balance each other, and each bed, so it is a focal point of each bed.

Actually, the herb garden was planted with flower arranging in mind. The Lavender looks fabulous in arrangements, and it blooms a couple of times. And Parsley, you know, we look at it as a garnish, but you want to talk about something that lasts a long time in flower arrangements. It's a great green. Beans. You know, why not throw beans into something. Or, you've got your variegated leaves on your Nasturtiums. And they look awesome in salads. So, there's a lot of different uses for the herb bed than just cooking with it.

Probably one of the biggest things, we like to entertain. So, we decided to do a large lannon stone patio. And poor Randy just took out tons and tons of clay and dirt. It was a huge project. I wasn't part of that one! But part of the reason was we had made all these great concrete troughs. And I really love container gardening. I think it's come a long way since the Geraniums and the spikes. And there are so many fabulous plants out there that are unusual. It really pulls you up to the house. It makes you feel more welcomed into the house instead of just outside in the garden beds.


Funding for The Wisconsin Gardener is provided, in part, by The Wisconsin Master Gardener Association.


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