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DC Area Garden Dialogues this June

What are the secrets to great gardens?  Find out on June 27-28 by attending The Cultural Landscape Foundation’s Garden Dialogues in the Washington, DC, Metro Area. The settings are intimate—generally no more than 24-30 people; relaxed—most run 90 minutes, providing ample opportunity to explore the garden and hear a lively, informative Dialogue; and exclusive—each Washington-area Dialogue destination is a private, residential garden.  Design professionals can earn 1.5 PDH from LA CES.  Five Dialogues are offered over the course of the weekend.  Tickets to each Dialogue are $45 or $125 for a special three-pack on June 28:

House at Fletcher's Mill, photo copyright Tom Arban Photography, Inc.
House at Fletcher’s Mill, photo copyright Tom Arban Photography, Inc.

Saturday, June 27, 10:30 am-12:00 pm, House at Fletcher’s Mill, Sperryville, VA, led by Richard Williams of Richard Williams Architects, with Gregg Bleam, FASLA, of Gregg Bleam Landscape Architect.

This modern complex set directly in the working agrarian landscape of the Virginia Piedmont recalls local traditions once strongly held. A new residence and guest house are perched on a picturesque knoll, abutting gently sloping meadows. The compound formed by the two structures is bordered by woods, and a new entry drive. From this vantage point, the minimalist house of concrete, cedar, copper, bluestone, and steel windows features views of the meadow, Thornton River, and three nearby peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains, including Old Rag. The living spaces open up to broad views of the lower river meadow to the south and the wooded hills beyond the river. A linear pool, nestled into the landscape, occupies one of the choicest locations on the site.

Copyright Maxwell Mackenzie
Piedmont retreat, photo copyright Maxwell Mackenzie

Saturday, June 27, 2:30 pm-4:00 pm, Piedmont Retreat, Bluemont, VA, led by Jay Graham, FASLA, of Graham Landscape Architecture, with Ralph Cunningham, FAIA.

Nestled at the base of the Shenandoah foothills in Virginia, this 178-acre site, once used for agriculture, has been transformed by the current owners into an attractive country retreat. Visitors enter the property along an extended driveway, aligned to perfectly capture views of the nearby foothills before meandering through a wooded area that terminates abruptly in a clearing, offering guests their first glimpse of the main residence. Pathways and terraces encircle the home where a wedge-shaped entry garden beckons, drawing visitors through the front door. Other spaces include the Tapestry and Master’s gardens, which were designed to introduce a diverse palette of plants to the property, direct views, and provide an additional splash of color and personality to the outdoor area. Adjacent to the home and bounded by natural boulders found on site, a turf platform provides flat ground for outdoor games. Beyond the lawn, a newly established meadow completes the design plan as it draws attention outward to more natural aspects of the environment, a pond, and restored woodlands.

Copyright Paul Warchol
Chalon Residence, photo copyright Paul Warchol

Sunday, June 28, 10:30 am-12:00 pm, Chalon Residence, Bethesda, MD, led by Lisa E. Delplace, ASLA, of Oehme, van Sweden & Associates with architect Alan Dynerman, FAIA, of Dynerman Architects PC.

An idyllic gathering place for a large, extended family, this distinctively modern home and garden in Bethesda, Maryland, is the result of a strong, collaborative process between the homeowner, architect, and landscape architect. It’s reflective of the family’s desire to balance function, craftsmanship, and superior aesthetics within the comprehensive site design. A prominent fence constructed of eye-catching steel slats defines the expanse of this two-acre property, creating an enclosed, private enclave for family activities and intimate gatherings. Indoor and outdoor living areas converge as the garden and lawn space form a hub for family functions. A sports court, sledding hill, and vegetable garden support a myriad of activities, while the backyard terrace, pool, and spa provide a modern space for entertaining. Farther from the central house, a mixture of understory plantings enhance a half-acre of preserved woodlands.

Copyright Allen Fuss
Forest Hills Residence, photo copyright Allen Russ

Sunday, June 28, 1:00-2:30 pm, Forest Hills Residence, Washington, DC, led by Jay Graham, FASLA, of Graham Landscape Architecture with architect Christopher Morrison, FAIA.

Adjacent to Rock Creek Park, a large urban park and natural area, the landscape and gardens reflect both the woodland character of the nearby park and the modern architectural design of the home. Throughout the renovation process, the architect and landscape architect worked cooperatively to create a memorable outdoor space. Moving the original garage entrance allowed for an extension of the entry garden, where an extended walkway and ornamental screen along the street front provide enhanced privacy for the residence and create a garden backdrop visible from inside the home. Plantings in the rear of the home occupy the site’s natural slope as the property descends steeply into Creek Valley, a spur of Rock Creek Park, and provide residents with a rare scenic view of dense woodlands and a space for quiet contemplation in the midst of the bustling metro region.

Photo by Gordon Beall
Family Retreat, photo by Gordon Beall

Sunday, June 28, 3:30-5:00 pm, Family Retreat, Potomac, MD, led by Lila Fendrick, ASLA, and Doug Stookey of Lila Fendrick Landscape Architecture and Garden Design.

The landscape architects incorporated an adjoining lot to create this delightful family retreat where the clients spend time with their two sons growing vegetables, swimming, playing in splash pools, soaking in the hot tub, hiding in a below-grade fort, and running through a maze of paths formed by towering shrubs.  The landscape architect designed dramatic lawn steps up to the new pool and pool house complex, designing tiers of waterfalls around a sunken spa, terracing the site with playfully hidden paths, and concealing a lower level parking area and garage. The project uses locally sourced Western Maryland stone on the pool house/guest house and Delaware River Jacks for the pebble paving. Utah-sourced quartzite-sandstone boulders reflect the clients’ appreciation for rugged western American landscapes.

Space is limited and tickets are selling quickly, so register today.

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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