A Garden Story in Pictures

A single picture might be worth a thousand words but a group of photos doesn’t need words—they communicate the story without text.

When I photograph a garden, I try to keep this in mind. The key is to capture the big picture with an overview shot and then illuminate the details with vignettes and close-ups.

Here is an example of the concept at work with 6 photos of the Sunk Garden at Great Dixter House & Gardens, East Sussex, England.

Overview

Overview

Vignette

Vignette

Vignette

Vignette

Vignette

Vignette

Close-up

Close-up

Close-up

Close-up

12 thoughts on “A Garden Story in Pictures

  1. Susan Temple

    Great Dixter was one of my favorites on a tour of London gardens last year. The Gunnera growing slightly off the normal tour area was outstanding! I liked it because Christopher Lloyd planted whatever he liked without over thinking how/where the plants would fit in. It was beautiful!

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Susan–I met Christopher Lloyd on my first visit to Great Dix in 2001. I’ve seen the garden twice since then (either in May and June) and I love it more every time. I have plans to visit again this September and can’t wait to see what it offers later in the growing season.

      Reply
  2. Janet, The Queen of Seaford

    Marian, what a lovely garden. Each picture gives a different feeling. I do love the garden in the foreground of the overview photo. I am a big fan of the meadow garden….and purples are the best!
    I look forward to getting together sometime after this weekend.

    Reply
  3. indygardener

    I love this advice for photographing a garden. I’m going to keep it in mind when I take pictures of gardens!

    Reply
  4. Ruth and Durden Collins

    Cheers from Greer-ites in Surrey, UK.. . These pictures are so wonderful. It is snowing in England today, so what else do intrepid gardeners do on a wintry afternoon? Why, go visit gardens, of course. Seems as if winter here will never end. However, we are discovering that gardens can be very beautiful during the “off” season. Last week it was Polesden Lacey. Today it was Downe House (Charles Darwin’s home). Savill is right around the corner, so we will probably drop in there again next. Quick question about the laurel that is so prolific and that lines so many roadsides here. Everyone we’ve asks calls it simply “common laurel.” We have a screen of it on two sides of our garden here in Surrey and would love to use it in our property in Greer. Are you familiar with this shrub and do you think it would grow in the Greenville area? We love reading your blog. Each time we log in we are transported for a short time back to South Carolina.

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Hello Ruth and Durden! Great to hear from you again. You can’t imagine how much I envy your opportunity in England. I’ve yet to see Polesden Lacey, home of the famous Mrs. Greville, or Downe House, or Savill. Don’t you want to invite me for a long visit?! LOL

      Regarding the laurel, I’m guessing it is Prunus laurocerasus, called cherry laurel here in the US, but native to southeastern Europe. Can you please google and see if this is a match for the plant in Surrey? Typically it is a large spreading evergreen shrub that can reach to 20-feet tall, but can be kept as a hedge with pruning. We can and do grow it in the upstate. The most commonly used cultivar is ‘Otto Luken’ which grows to about 6-feet tall.

      Don’t hesitate to email directly if I’m off track or you need a follow up. My address is marian.stclair@gmail.com

      Reply

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