We started redoing the gardens at Chiles House starting in the winter of 2017. We took advantage of the unusually warm winter days to start removing banana trees. While we have no objection to a few banana trees, as they provide interesting summer foliage, the gardens were overrun with banana trees, leaving little room for other plantings. Banana trees die back to the ground in the winter, leaving a bare spot for several months of the year. We desired more year round interest and a lot of exuberant color. Besides, our gardening philosophy is generally to add as much fragrance as possible. So, out went the banana trees, and in came lilacs, fragrant tea olives, carefully chosen roses, jasmine, ginger lilies, and fragrant irises. We reused as much planting material from the property as possible, dividing and then transplanting hostas, day lilies and irises to other places in the yard. We decided to make the back walled garden a formal hedge rose garden. The side yard was bordered by three large sugar maples. After consultation with a local arborist, we reluctantly took down one of the large sugar maples for safety reasons as it was near the end of its life. That opened up a new sunny spot that we used to add roses and a custom made rose arbor. Please see our gallery of the first year of the re-invented Chiles House gardens below:
January 2017: We took this series of photos on Facebook of the exterior of the house in winter.
Here are photos of the gardens before we moved in.