A Montgomery Garden – Cottage Classicism

Montgomery, Alabama is one of those wonderful Southern cities with a small town feel. When you’ve grown up in a places like Hawkinsville and Kathleen, working in a larger community such as Montgomery is akin to the country mice coming to town – we are just in awe of the big city! Yet, every time I come to this culturally and historically rich town, I am graced with Southern hospitality, gentility, and a wealth of architectural and design talent using styles such as Mediterranean, Southern Revival, Neo-Classical and a wonderful sprinkling of Tudor.

So imagine the delight this Farmer has had designing a garden reminiscent of the English parterres from my childhood farm and the cottage gardens of Europe I so adore for a young family in Montgomery – a chance to bring classicism and cottage together. When a plan comes together in my mind and then on paper, the next step is to execute said plan; enter Falkner Gardens.

Peter Falkner is a good buddy of mine from Auburn and we’re both proud alum of AU’s Horticulture program. One day we are college kids studying small trees, shrubs, vines, and arboriculture around Auburn’s campus, and the next day we are working together to install gardens. The talent of a designer or architect can only be brought out by the right builder, installer, and executor of the plan, and Falkner Gardens made this garden project sing!

This garden is a true extension of the home with demarcated places for the parents and their friends to play as well as the children and their playmates. A Pennsylvania bluestone terrace laid in an Ashlars’ pattern is covered with a chunky, Tudor brown cedar arbor, accented with comfortable furniture and handsome planters. Elegance and approachability make for an ideal combo for this terrace level – the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine with friends or an alfresco dinner party.

A sports court, play house, and swing set are nestled above the terrace and parterre level, screen by Natchez crepe myrtles, boxwood hedges and a retaining wall, yet still visible to a mother’s watchful eye from the terrace below.  A main requirement for this garden was to have space for the kids and grownups, so everyone could enjoy the garden, so an existing retaining wall that bisected the yard rather than accented the yard was removed and the parterre level became the middle ground between terrace and play area, giving a much needed common area for entertaining. A Richardson Allen bench, painted in Farrow and Ball’s Berrington Blue picks up the hues of the bluestone and adds a pop of color to the green palette. 

The husband and father of this clan is an avid gardener, and he keeps the garden pristine. A beautiful wife and adorable children round out the family and make for the personality in the garden. It is always an honor to design a beautiful garden but to design one that is so well loved and used as a part of the home is even greater. From a garden from this Farmer’s repertoire to yours, happy gardening!