Beauty by the Sea

Once totally destroyed by a nor'easter. Christopher Thurlow's rejuvenated garden represents friendship and hope



(page 2 of 2)

There is a tale behind the lamb’s ears, the border that runs across each room in her garden. Back in 1976, when Chris was married with two small children, everything she planted died. “I had a black garden,” she admits. Since she didn’t have a lot to spend on her failed effort, her mother, a classic gardener from Alexandria, Virginia, gave her $200 with instructions: “Buy twenty varieties of plants, two of each, and place them in different areas of your yard. The plants will be your teachers.” Then her mother gave her a pot of lamb’s ears. “Plant this,” she said. “It will grow anywhere.”

The next summer, thirteen of the plants had made it, and the lamb’s ears became the unifying border and a constant reminder of her mother’s wisdom. “The plants will tell you where they want to live,” says Chris. “You decide which pattern you want them to live in.”
Under a large black oak tree sits the shade garden, an area of lush green plants. To add interest, Chris hung two dozen birdhouses. The wrens, thrushes and finches that live there bring another layer of natural interest and texture to her garden. In early spring, before the tree’s leaves fill in, tulips and daffodils have enough sun to bloom. “Let one thing replace another,” she says. “There is a great anticipation when there’s always something new that’s coming.”

Last to bloom in her garden is the seaside area, which is most bountiful in late July. A row of pink Fairy Rose bushes and wispy Speedwell alternate to create a pattern along the curved retaining wall. These plants are strategically placed here, as they are tolerant of sun, wind and saltwater spray. Unlike the other rooms in her garden, which run deep, the seaside garden is shallow, with just one layer of plantings, and of course the trademark lamb’s ears border. “I don’t want too much garden in front of the ocean,” she says. “I don’t want to compete with nature.”

The best view of the Sound is from the front porch, where a pair of white rose standards mark the steps that lead up to the house. On the porch, a table is set for an outdoor dinner, with colorful ceramic plates resting on placemats made of small polished stones. This tranquil spot is the couple’s favorite place to unwind. “Sitting on the porch on a soft evening and listening to the waves lap the shore is our idea of heaven on earth.”

After the sun sets, they watch the moon rise over the water while gazing down at the Moon Garden, which lies on the gentle hill that slopes down to the grass. Only white and silver plants, such as dusty miller, white petunias and verbena, bloom here. The setting, inspired by Vita Sackville-West’s famous Sissinghurst garden in England, is simple and serene.

“My garden gives me an internal sense of peace, contentment and satisfaction,” says Chris, as she surveys the space she designed entirely herself. “I don’t mind if my plants overgrow or fight each other for space. I always love them like my own children.”

Most important to Chris is to carry on her mother’s love for gardening and pass it down to the next generation. To that end, Chris, a board member of the Greenwich Garden Education Center, teaches classes at her home nearly every spring. She also volunteers her expertise at the Senior Center in Greenwich and teaches a botanical course at the Nathaniel Witherell Nursing Home, where she is designing and installing a therapeutic environment  garden. For this gardener, there is no greater happiness than sharing the secrets of the trade she knows so well.

 

 

Greenwich Agenda

  • TREEHOUSES: Look Who's Living in the Trees!

    2014.06.21
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Saturday, June 21 - Monday, September 1 Hidden in the leaves, snug in the trunk or burrowed under the roots, what types of animals actually...

  • Exhibit: Tales of Two Cities: New York & Beijing | Greenwich, CT

    2014.05.03
     @ Bruce Museum

    May 3 – August 31, 2014 Tales of Two Cities: New York & Beijing This exhibition focuses on two of the world’s leading...

  • Saturday Vals Free Weekly In-Store Wine Tasting | Greenwich, CT

    2014.05.10
     @ Val's Putnam Wine And Liquors

    We will feature an array of new and different International wines that are selected by our staff as “Staff Picks Favorites” in...

  • Happy Hour | Greenwich, CT

    2014.01.26
     @ Morello Italian Bistro

    Refresh yourself with our famous Red & White Sangria! Don’t forget that during happy hour every day 4:30pm-6:30pm your 2nd drink...

  • Polo Benefit for Hope

    2014.08.31
     @ Greenwich Polo Club

    For the second year in a row, Virginia's House of Hope is having a fundraiser at the Greenwich Polo Club! Join us on Sunday, August...

  • SM&NC Farm Market

    2014.06.15
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 15 – October 5, 10am – 2pm We're thrilled to bring back the SM&NC Farm Market — now on Sundays!...

  • Animal Meet and Greet

    2014.06.22
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 22 - August 31, 3:30 - 4:00pm Stop by for a chance to meet one of our Overbrook Nature Center or Heckscher Farm animals up...

  • Bar: Live Music | Greenwich, CT

    2014.03.09
     @ Barcelona Greenwich

    Join us in Greenwich every Sunday for live music and half-priced bottles of wine!

  • Greenwich Harbor Sunset Wine Cruise | Greenwich, CT

    2014.06.05
     @ Delamar Hotel Dock

    The boat "Prudence" departs from the Delamar Hotel Dock on 500 Steamboat Rd. All the wine is sponsored through VALS with food...

  • Exclusive Tour of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Yale University Art Gallery

    2014.09.09
     @ Yale University Art Gallery

    Join JCC Greenwich for an exclusive tour with museum curator Elizabeth Manekin. The collection is noteworthy for exemplary works from the...

  • Understanding the Gaza War: Strategic & Political Implications

    2014.09.09
     @ Greenwich Library, Cole Auditorium

    Dr. Efraim Inbar is a Professor in Political Studies at Bar-Ilan University and Director of its renowned Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic...

  • Bruce Museum: Look and See - Into the Deep

    2014.09.10
     @ Bruce Museum

    A program especially designed for children ages 3-5 years and their adult caregivers, who will explore the Museum’s exhibition through...

  • College Admissions Boot Camp | Greenwich, CT

    2014.09.13

    College Prep 360 will be offering two college admissions “boot camps” in their Greenwich office over the summer. The first workshop...

  • Nigh Season: New Paintings By David Konigsberg

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM  Public Invited   NIGH...

  • Undulate: Paintings By Julie Gross and Margaret Neill

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    GALLERY II Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM Public Invited...

  • Greenwich Area Newcomers Annual Lobster Fest

    2014.09.14
     @ Tod's Point Clambake Area

    This is our kickoff event each year-held at Tod's Point Clambake area. The event is scheduled for Sunday September 14th starting...

  • Information Fair

    2014.09.16
     @ YMCA

    Our Annual Information Fair - This event showcases non profits , community businesses, schools and  services in the Greenwich...


Show More...

Most Popular Articles

  1. Best of Greenwich
    Delamar Greenwich Harbor
  2. 10 Things Greenwich Teens Can Do This Summer
    One Greenwich teen shares some suggestions for summer fun!
  3. Villa Maria School: Annual Spring Gala
    Richards of Greenwich
  4. Save the Children Benefit
    Riverside Yacht Club
  5. Twelfth Annual New York Smile Event
    Cipriani Wall Street