He is an international executive and she is a plant enthusiast/community volunteer, and on entering Longview, their 25-acre Glyndon estate, several clues reveal the caliber and style of their gardens.
Railings on the narrow bridge across a branch of Western Run support two pairs of long wood troughs. They’re full of striking perennials and annuals that remind some visitors of Switzerland. More containers hang on the pasture fence — on some days that pasture is full of hounds training for hunts across the valley. Recently planted evergreen and deciduous trees border the long driveway that ends in a graceful stand of mature maples. A peek at the wide stucco and stone house reveals a home that could easily be standing in the French or Italian countryside. While thoroughly Maryland, Longview has cosmopolitan flair.
“We find inspiration from traveling abroad and want to create garden rooms that are places of both reflection and enjoyment,” she says, adding that plants and trees are her only birthday and anniversary requests. Since 1998, when the couple and their four children moved to Longview, much of the outdoor space has been transformed into a series of 18 garden rooms. They gracefully embrace the house, the stables, the outbuildings and the pastures. With breathtaking views of the countryside preserved, curved paths and green
corridors wind through the property to uncover surprises, with international punctuation, at every turn.
Driving through the courtyard entrance, flanked by mature boxwoods, a stately pair of urns and peach Drift roses, visitors will feel as if they’ve landed in France. Reclaimed French cobblestones pave the large motor court with surrounding garden beds edged in stone that matches both the cobblestones and the stucco house. Hedge maples form a green wall between the motor court and the carriage house courtyard. An antique French fountain gurgles by the front door, where clematis winds up a copper downspout. Seasonal plants cascade from containers. Roses arch over glossy black shutters and French doors along an adjacent stucco wall. Coral bells serve as a sophisticated groundcover beneath roses, peonies and hydrangeas, the three signature plants that, in different varieties, thread through and unite the gardens.
A pair of Adirondack chairs on a hill provide a full property view. Beside the chairs is a native red oak that Foxborough Nurseries gave to them in 2016 as memorial to her father. Since 2014, Foxborough has helped the owners realize their vision for the gardens, which were originally designed by Graham Landscape Architecture and Beechbrook Landscape Architecture. Foxborough has also helped restore the health of trees and woody plants that had struggled in heavily compacted soil after a massive house renovation.
“We try to grow all of the fruits and vegetables we eat here,” she says, adding that the couple regularly entertains local and international visitors. “What we don’t use, we give away. I hate to see things go to waste.” Everything from cherries, blackberries and kiwis to peaches, grapes and persimmons are among the dozens of different fruits. Woody plants such as willows, weigelia, caryopteris, deutzia and forsythia are cut for use in flower arrangements throughout the house. A nearby apiary provides honey for family and for gifts.
From this hillside, the green roof of the stone springhouse beacons. Through a densely planted, fragrant lilac garden, a path winds through evergreens, perennials and many native plants. Birds and nearby waterfalls at the large trout and koi ponds add life and sounds to the gardens. “When my husband became involved, what started as a small koi pond turned into something much bigger,” she says. Indeed, the trout pond is the size of a swimming pool. Stone steps lead up to the charming springhouse and its roof covered by succulents and dwarf irises.
A grassy corridor takes visitors to a morning garden room, a perfect spot to eat breakfast and read beneath one of several dark timber roofs, reminiscent of Spain (where she once lived) but handcrafted in Charleston, South Carolina. Steam rises on a cool morning from the heated pool used all year. Beyond it, an exquisite 16th-century Italian fountain serves as focal point for the pool and gardens beside it.
There is also a terrace that offers more spectacular views of a nearby boxwood parterre, the Maryland hills and a 12-square vegetable garden. A wide perennial border, which flanks the vegetable garden, is beginning to creep over to the pasture fence. “No such thing as too many plants,” she says with a smile.
Like all of the gardens at Longview, the vegetable garden has expanded. What started in a few raised boxes of locust timbers is now filled with lettuces and herbs. By the kitchen, a recent addition of an intimate bistro garden has walls of yews and custom planters that hide vents to a room-sized aquarium inside the house.
While the scale of these gardens is large, the repetition of plant material — boxwoods, roses, hydrangeas and peonies — unifies them. “We’re
currently working on creating a long-range plan to pull everything together,” says the owner, who, when traveling, still texts Thompson about plants she’d like to add. On a recent trip to Japan with her youngest son, she spotted the Jane Goodall rose on a standard.
No surprise, one now grows in the garage courtyard garden.
Photos by Paula Adelsberger Simon
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