A Glimpse Of The Garden: Waterfall Garden Is A Labor Of Love

Photo: Nancy Crevier

Chris Lincoln enjoys a cup of coffee on her lower level patio, which she built herself. Beyond the stone wall is the garden that surround a waterfall, another of Ms Lincoln’s handiworks.

“A Glimpse Of The Garden” is a seasonal miniseries focusing on the heart of a gardener’s work — a special spot, an extraordinary plant, a place of respite, or a place that evokes a heartfelt memory.

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Chris Lincoln set out to create a little piece of tranquility in her backyard three summers ago. Now, whether seated on her back deck, on the patio below, or gliding gently in the swinging bench that overlooks her piece of Paradise, she can reap the contentment she sought. She can also feel some bit of pride in knowing that her gardens are the works of her own hands.

“I always wanted a little waterfall. The sound of water is so soothing,” said Ms Lincoln, who finds enjoyment in doing as much of the design and labor herself as she can, when gardening. Noticing the slant of the property running from the back of the house toward the back yard, she decided that would be the ideal place to install a water element to her property. Separating her lower home entrance from the upper section of her yard, a shoulder high stonewall was already in place, and she left that there to define the waterfall area.

She constructed the water tower, from which the recirculated water burbles and begins its downhill journey, from rocks recovered from her property and topped it with slabs of slate. The water courses down a 30-foot sluice lined with still more rocks that Ms Lincoln selected from her grounds, and ends at the pump that sends it back to repeat its flow. Pots overflowing with bright red New Guinea impatiens greet the end of the water flow, and coupled with ivy, create a pool of color.

“I didn’t want a pond or standing water, so this waterfall seemed a good solution,” said Ms Lincoln.

On either side of the waterfall and streamlet are gardens. Hosta, pachysandra, deep purple coleus, a variety of sedums, andromeda, and ornamental grasses frame the water. Interspersed are pots of red begonias and magenta petunias, for added color.

“It’s always a work in progress. I look for high, low, and differently textured plants, and different shades of green,” Ms Lincoln said.

Visitors might observe other elements to the waterfall garden.

“I have something in my gardens from everywhere I’ve ever visited — rocks, driftwood, plants, and shells,” she said.

A metal filigree butterfly “captured” on one vacation clings to one of two trees that anchor the swinging bench. Stepping gracefully through the hostas is a heron crafted from a thin sheet of plastic, and perched near the start of the fall, a statue of a little boy casts his fishing line.

“I tell my little grandson that the little boy is him,” Ms Lincoln says.

The large oval stone halfway down the stream is another story.

“That rock was from way back in our woods. When my kids were little, we’d hike back there and I would tell them that it was a dinosaur egg,” she said. So when she decided it would be a wonderful focal point in the waterfall, she enlisted her daughter’s help. “We hauled it back up here in a wheelbarrow,” she laughed.

Now she tells her grandchildren that the stone is a dinosaur egg. “I’m not sure they buy it, though,” she said.

With the waterfall finished, the garden does not require much maintenance she said. But she is always game for a new project. No sooner was that finished, than Ms Lincoln decided to create a lower level sitting area beneath the deck.

“It was already a packed dirt area, so I smoothed it all out, and used that stone dust,” she said, to prepare it. Thick rock slabs came from Swenson Granite Works in Newtown, she said, and using a dolly, she moved the big rocks about, fitting them into place. Seated there, she can enjoy the sound of the water bubbling down the hill just above her and look out into her back yard where a shade garden offers another oasis to the eyes.

Many of the plants are from her friends. Beyond the waterfall garden, she pointed out Rose of Sharon bushes blooming high above a spread of hydrangea, heavy with clusters of blue flowers.

“My parents had vegetable gardens, but my dad had a gorgeous collection of hydrangeas,” she said. When he passed away, Ms Lincoln dug out a section of hydrangeas and transplanted them to her yard. The Rose of Sharon, she said, came from a friend’s house.

“I love that, because when I look at the plants, I think of them,” she said.

She has lived in the same house for over 40 years, and has always had some project underway, she said.

One of the newer members of Town and Country Garden Club in Newtown, recent retirement has given her the luxury of delving more deeply into her gardening, Ms Lincoln said. She sees her hobby as a means of relaxing, and which provides a great sense of accomplishment.

“I’m an outdoor person,” she said, “and it doesn’t even have to be a nice day!”

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