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beds too conducive to growth. They had expanded
far beyond their parameters until you couldn’t see
the partitioned design beneath and behind them.
Even worse, the garden was untended for the year
and a half the property sat on the market. With 15
lilacs jammed beside viburnums, buddleias, climb-
ing hydrangeas, and overgrown boxwoods, it was
a challenge that brought out the bushwhacker in
Walek. His goal was to preserve the romance of a
cloistered “monastic” garden while strengthen-
ing the regional accent of the place. He intended to
restore whatever plants he could, and the first order
of business was giving everything space to breathe.
Walek’s office is his mud-splattered pickup
truck, and while he has a crew, he is shoveler-in-
chief. He engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the
site. That sort of dig-in intimacy fosters insights.
The first came as Walek opened up potential vistas
and saw no clear views to the back lawn and water-
front. “There was a skinny alleyway down to the
water, but it had no drama,” he says. He engaged
stonemason Tom Dunn of Stoney Brook Landscap-
ing in Cape Neddick, Maine, to construct a corri-
dor whose solid wall, built from stone salvaged from
the foundation of a house on the property that had
burned to the ground in the 1980s, would focus the
eye on the ocean view ahead.
Purely practical issues were also addressed.
Torrential runoff from the house’s roof was handled with a sophisticated drainage system excavated
below the corridor, which sits between the walled
garden and the house. Dunn also created a welcoming pathway of massive bleached stone slabs from
Maine’s Mount Agamenticus that leads to a portico
and fountain and then around the house to badminton and croquet courts.
Still, it is the walled garden that grabs all the
initial attention. To soften the stonework defining
the driveway, Walek planted Verbena bonariensis so
that its purple spires dance above the wall. Around
the corner, a visitor becomes lost in a series of intimate outdoor rooms. Although the garden feels
securely contained, its walls rise only knee high.
Above them, open-slatted wooden fencing allows air
a pair of finials cap the wall (left bottom) stonemason
Tom Dunn built beside the enclosed garden filled with
joe-pye weed, amaranth, and Agastache. Climbing
hydrangea thrive on the wall and fence running along one
side of the corridor (left top) that Walek created using the
moon gate and the horizon as its focal point. Walek’s golden
retriever sleeps in the shade beside the stone walkway.