During his 40-year career as a garden writer and photographer, Derek Fell has designed numerous garden spaces, many involving his wife Carolyn. The best example of their work can be seen at their home, historic Cedaridge Farm, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. There, they have designed more than twenty theme areas, including shade gardens, sunny perennial borders, tapestry gardens involving trees and shrubs, a cottage garden, herb garden, cutting garden and an ambitious water garden.
Derek worked as a consultant on garden design to the White House during the Gerald Ford Administration. Derek designed Ford’s ‘Win’ garden, following his ‘Win Speech’, advising the nation ten ways to fight inflation.
Many garden designs by Derek Fell have been implemented without inspecting the site. The great late architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed beautiful homes for his clients, entirely from photographs without the need for a site inspection.
Fell’s garden spaces have been featured in newspapers, magazines, books and also on television, including Architectural Digest, Gardens Illustrated, The Garden (the magazine of the Royal Horticultural Society), Country Gardens, HGTV, QVC and PBS.
Derek has authored more than sixty books and garden calendars, including 550 Home Landscaping Ideas (Simon & Schuster), The Encyclopedia of Garden Design (Firefly Books), The Complete Garden Planning Manual (Friedman), Garden Accents (Henry Holt) and Home Landscaping (Simon & Schuster).
Curb appeal and ambiance are important to brighten up your propoerty or prepare it for sale. Feel free to ask Derek any garden related questions regardless of how big or small.
SOME GARDEN TYPES
Water Garden. Water is the music of nature. It can be tricked over stones, cascaded from a great height so its crashes onto rocks. It can fall in a solid sheet or as silver threads. A beautiful water garden with waterfalls and stepping stones can be located in sunlight or shade. The water garden shown here is located at Cedaridge Farm. It includes a pool for dipping, and it features both a collection of koi and hardy water lilies. A popular water garden design features a koi pool fed by a series of waterfalls, and the water re-circulated through filters to keep the water clear.
Sunny Perennial Border. This can be formal or informal, square, rectangular, round and kidney shaped, in the form of an island bed or backed against a decorative hedge, wall or fence. Plants can be chosen to produce a parade of color through all the seasons, or concentrated for a particular season. Color themes can be polychromatic like a rainbow, monochromatic (for example all white – perfect for a wedding), or it can feature an Impressionist color harmony, such as yellow and purple; orange and blue; red, pink and silver; blue, pink and white; even black and white or black and orange (one of Monet’s favorites). A popular perennial garden design is two parallel border with a grass path leading to a focal point such as a sculpture or gazebo.
Tropical Garden. You do not need to live in a frost-free area to have a beautiful tropical garden. At Cedaridge Farm we have two – one is a tribute to the design philosophy of the late Roberto Burle Marx, who designed dramatic tropical gardens around Rio. It is in a lightly shaded area and features plants that are hardy (like ‘Sum & Substance’ hosta) but look tropical and tender plants that are tender (like banana trees and tree ferns) that either need moving indoors during winter or can be discarded like annuals at the end of the season. Our second tropical space is a patio with tropical plants grown in containers.
Shade Gardens. We design two kinds of shade gardens – one where the plants provide mostly foliage interest (like ferns, hostas, heuchera and hakone grass), and plants that flower well (like impatiens, coleus, and lilies), or a combination of the two.
Woodland Garden. Whether you have existing woodland or you need to create a woodland from scratch, the result can be sensational. Decide whether you want deciduous trees that provide fall color or evergreens that stay green all winter, or a mixture. At Cedaridge we made a ‘cathedral’ garden where the existing trees are trimmed high so the trunks look like the columns of a cathedral, and the branches arch out to meet overhead like the vaulted ceiling of a cathedral. Below, we provide two more layers of interest, at ground level and the under-story.
Vegetable Garden. We can design you an easy-care garden of raised beds where vegetables are planted in blocks or an edible landscape where edibles are grown for ornamental effect. We can provide the plan for a garden that was approved for the White house during the Ford Administration where Derek Fell worked as a garden consultant. Derek Fell’s book, “Vegetables – How to Select, Grow & Enjoy”, won a best book award from the Garden Writers Association.
Herb Garden. The herb garden at Cedaridge Farm is a ‘quadrant design’, feature in numerous calendars and books, including Derek Fell’s ‘Herb Gardening for Beginners.’ We can also provide a cartwheel design or a parterre herb garden for bountiful harvests of fresh herbs. The Herb Garden can also do double-duty as a vegetable garden.
Cutting Garden. The cutting garden at Cedaridge Farm features bulbs such as tulips and daffodils for spring, and ever-blooming annuals to follow the bulbs so armloads of flowers can be harvested from April through October.
Victorian Garden. A garden with romantic overtones! Imagine a white gazebo framed by mostly white flowers for a wedding in the family. Or choose from among several color harmonies, such as yellow and blue, red, pink and silver, or blue, pink and white.
Cottage Garden. You don’t need a cottage to have a cottage garden. But if you do, such as a guest cottage, why not wrap it in shrub roses and climbers, plus those delightful English cottage garden plants like poppies, sunflowers and pinks. We also like to include plants to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
Stream Garden. Lucky you if you have an existing stream to be landscaped. At Cedaridge Farm we have a stream, but when we moved here it was overgrown with poison ivy and brambles. Today it is criss-crossed with bridges, and beds of moisture-loving plants like astilbe and water iris. If you don’t have a stream, but would like one, we can create a design where the water is re-circulated along one that’s man-made but looks natural.
Orchard. You don’t need a lot of space for a productive orchard. By making the right choices, fruit trees can be grown in containers or espaliered against fences and walls to save space. Peaches and apples can be trained over arbors. Just a few plants of small fruits like strawberries and raspberries can be highly productive.
Bog Garden. Ideal for soils that tend to remain moist all season, bog gardens can be extremely colorful and highly imaginative, incorporating stepping stones and bridges to cross wet areas, and growing some of nature’s most diverse plant families, such as water iris, Japanese primroses, astilbe and waterlilies.
Japanese Garden. The problem with many Japanese gardens is a tendency to use pseudo-Japanese elements such as Chinese dragons. Derek Fell has twice traveled to Japan, has written award-winning articles about Japanese garden design, and has the experience to design authentic-looking spaces in the Japanese tradition using elements of Zen or Feng Shui, or a combination of the two disciplines to create a magical space.
Italian Garden. Although Italian gardens can be highly ostentatious, requiring steep slopes to achieve the best effect, like the Villa d’Este, near Rome, small spaces can achieve the aura of an Italian garden. Derek Fell has not only visited some of the finest Italian Gardens, such as La Mortola on the Italian coast, and Boboli overlooking Florence, he has toured and photographed the Vatican Gardens.
French Formal Garden. The elaborate style of Versailles Palace and Vaux le Vicompte, may be beyond your means, but elements of French garden design, such as a parterre garden, can be incorporated in small spaces.
Monet’s Garden. This beautiful artist’s garden north of Paris contains more than a hundred special planting ideas to create what Monet considered his greatest work of art. Moreover, his planting ideas have undoubtedly inspired more new garden design than any other garden. Monet’s arched bridge, his waterlily pond, his arches leading to the entrance of his house, and his color harmonies are just some examples of Monet’s innovation that people today like to emulate.
Tapestry Garden (Trees & Shrubs). The great French Impressionist artist, Paul Cezanne’s garden, in Provence, is composed mostly of trees and shrubs, not only as a labor saving device, but to provide a tapestry of color from leaf colors, leaf texture and leaf shapes. What could be more appealing than to look out of a window of your home at a rich foliage panorama, including all shades of green from light green to dark-green, plus blue, silver, gold, bronze?
Hillside Garden. Even dry hillsides can make beautiful rock gardens, with paths twisting and turning in a zig-zag to create a visual adventure from the top of the slope to the bottom. They can be terraced and threaded with streams to create waterfalls and planted with some of nature’s most beautiful plant forms. Bridges, benches and belvedere are some of the structural elements that can add interest to a hillside.