Gwynne/Folcarelli Garden - Little Compton, RI
January 28, 2011
It is said that if you live in a place, you often overlook that which is right at hand. Sometimes it is just ignorance of the existence of a feature. Many times value of a place or an object increases with distance and cost. It is important to take a close look at the opportunities within reach and seize the obvious. So it was that the garden of John Gwynne and Mikel Folcarelli in Little Compton, RI came to my attention. Little Compton lies along the coastline in a moderate Zone 6/7 climate. A Garden Symposium was held last June and there were two gardens featured, both exquisite. The Atwater garden will wait for another Friday. The Gwynne/Folcarelli garden is designed as a series of rooms and each unfolds slowly sometimes startling the visitor with unique color and composition. The home is lovely with a wonderful, naturalistic feel and both it and the entrance to the cluster of garden rooms give just a little hint to the wonders about to unfold. There are allees, walkways, paths, and hedging which guide the visitor through the spaces. A green globe glows serenely in the misty atmosphere surrounding the garden and dares one to come closer and closer until the most thrilling golden garden is revealed. Variegated comfrey, hakonechloa, yellow yews and a myriad of other golden plants create a circular garden which begs for closer inspection. It is a bright garden on a gray day and it is difficult to leave but a glimpse through the hedge reveals the purple beech arch planted in a garden bed of Alice in Wonderland globe alliums. The purple teases the eye with dark tones in contrast to the sunny garden left behind. The arch is not yet mature but its form is clear and already it invites one through the space and around a water feature which sits below this red lacquer gazebo complete with dancing elephants and printed pillows just waiting for a willing wanderer to climb the stairs and sit still for a moment. The whisper of bamboo keeps one sitting, listening, and surveying the scenery. There is something to be seen from all angles in the garden and the view from this high perchis tranquil yet thrilling. There is a glimpse of blue to be seen and it is the clear, light blue of Himalayan poppies. They are not easy to grow here in RI but the garden conditions have been carefully crafted to host this most valued garden guest. I was there just as the bloom was starting to fade and the furry pods were forming. It was hard to walk away from this blue but just beyond, the gray/blue garden sits. It is a soothing space complete with chairs. Many of the rooms had places to sit and reflect. I hope the gardeners can take advantage of them on occasion.
This garden is still maturing and I hope to see it again and again. I know I missed many features and unusual plants. If one can fault a garden for being too intriguing and too beguiling ...no, that simply can't be done. It is the fault of the observer and not the garden at all. This garden is more than a treat. It is an adventure and the views out are as sensual and inviting as the views within.
I do hope you get to see this garden in person someday but, if not, we shall 'Armchair Travel' to it again to watch it mature and develop. Many thanks for hopping aboard.
This garden is scheduled to be on tour again in June of this year. Visit the website for further updates.