ost gardens seem
on a tightrope
once summer fades.
When autumn hits,
if the plantings
aren’t on the verge
of exhaustion, the gardener is
certainly tottering on the edge
of it. Moving toward winter,
the scene can easily slip from
bad to woebegone. Not at Pine
Meadow Gardens, a 20-acre
outdoor paradise in southwestern
Connecticut that does not go
gentle into that long frosty night.
Just the opposite happens in the garden that, from the get-go,
landscape designer Wes Rouse created with the four seasons in mind.
When he arrived in Southbury, Connecticut, in 1970 and renovated the
1920s farmhouse (already converted from an 1860 stable) into a comfy
home, there wasn’t much to admire outdoors. But as he expanded the
piddling inventory of pines (and removed the scrappy cedars, maple
saplings, and opportunistic multiflora roses) to give himself privacy
and to serve as a sound barrier against the nearby highway, he created
so many vignettes worthy of framing that he added French doors and
more windows just to take in the views.
Rouse has his own reasons for prolonging the season. Spring and
summer have a momentum (and urgency) all their own for the much-in-demand designer. Autumn is when he can steal more than an occasional
breather to bond with his own outdoor space. “Without the pressures of
although it is sweater weather, the morning glory still lingers behind Wes
Rouse (left) and his assistant, Bonnie Lass. At the garden’s perimeter
(above), autumn transforms miscanthus from just another ornamental grass
to a welcoming wave of color beside the outer gate.