freshly picked tomatoes sit in the
warm sun on the stone steps outside
the kitchen door (above left) as Jan
surveys the vegetable section of the
enclosed garden. Buoys that wash up
on the shore after a storm (above
right) are hung on the fence posts
of the walled garden, adding a
to circulate. The result is the perfect protective formula for the tough Maine coast climate. The plants
respond, judging from their girth, giving a sense of
enclosure that is like a massive green hug, while the
room pattern gives the garden order and focus.
The rubric allowed Walek to make mythical
passageways that have a fairy-tale Into-the-Woods
quality amid the lady’s mantle, Agastache, verbas-cum, perovskia, and hostas. There are also vegetables, berries, and herbs. Espaliered apple and pear
trees help with the hedging in the
inner sanctums. Climbing roses thrive
behind the wind-wrestling and heat-retaining stone walls. “It’s a microclimate within,” says Jan. And since no
self-respecting Dutchman would be without topiary,
boxwood is sheared into whimsical animal shapes.
Originally, the walled garden was the sto-
ry’s beginning and end. Walek changed that when
he took an unremarkable swimming pool behind
the house and glorified it with a slender rill filled
with aquatic plants. He didn’t touch the red Chi-
nese pagoda birdhouse that floats on a pole, “like a
cherry on the horizon,” says Walek, or the moon gate
crafted by Mike Fernald of Fernwood Inc. in Cape
Neddick, Maine, painstakingly calibrated to frame
the horizon and glorify the ocean.
Next, terraces were built to shoulder the slope,
a stone patio was installed behind the house with
gardens snuggled around. And it isn’t finished. “It’s
a never-ending saga,” says Jan.
The Ter Haars have fallen under the spell of
their seaside oasis. “You just look out at the ocean,
you hear the sounds of the waves breaking and the
birds calling, you breathe in the salt air and harvest
your own fruits, and you’re home,” says Jan.
Walek puts it more concisely: “You just fall in
love with the place.”