Tucked in the heart of Dothan’s garden district, Marty Clark’s quintessential cottage garden is truly a gardening masterpiece. Marty has always admired the structured chaos of cottage gardens, embracing the fact that the structure is loose and that “real” rules of design need not be adhered to. The classic boxwood lined beds and hedges of formal English gardens appeal to her as well. She cites her Texas grandmother as a gardening influence when she was a child. Starting as a novice, she credits her gardening friends for their mentoring over the years. Some of her favorite garden flowers include purple cone flowers, rudbeckia, ferns, acanthus and camellias. Dense plantings of macho fern, cast iron plant, hosta other varieties of greenery, the bones of her garden, form a lush, green backdrop against the shaded fenced garden. Her masterful use of containers, garden statuary, and whimsical ornaments add to its welcoming charm and fairy-tale atmosphere . Majestic towering century old oak trees form a canopy over the backyard while vibrant perennial beds add pops of summer color. The stunning blooms of the Limelight hydrangeas are captivating in the front garden. I have always considered her garden to be one of my very favorites, and was elated to have had the opportunity to photograph her magazine worthy garden and outside room in June and July.
“I have the good fortune of having a sunny front yard where I can grow a crazy mix of beautiful and colorful flowers, while in the remainder of the yard I am blessed with shade from large old oaks and where it is easily 5-10 degrees cooler. There I can grow plants that cool and calm like ferns, acanthus, cast iron,etc.”
Marty loves all varieties of hydrangea, and she obviously has the magic touch with such varieties as Limelights, Oak Leaf, and Endless Summer.
“If I plant something that doesn’t grow the way the plant ticket says it will I always move it. I sometimes move it 2 or 3 times until I find its “happy place”. If that doesn’t work I share it with my sons for their yards or with friends. I rarely throw something away just because it didn’t do what I wanted it to do. And ask gardener friends for advice when needed. Gardeners are a wonderful network of knowledge and love to share it!”
Continue down the garden path . . .
Although Marty is a native of Laurel, Mississippi, she graduated from the University of Alabama. Clearly, this is one garden statue that reflects her SEC loyalty!
The Clark’s casually elegant outdoor room, anchored by an old brick fireplace, is filled with a plethora of carefully chosen rustic accessories and furnishings collected by Marty over the years.
Marty reflects on her passion for gardening:
“I love to travel and see the gardens and landscaping of the many places we have been fortunate to visit. That also influences my garden a lot. Gardening gives me a sense of peace and pleasure. I always tell my husband “it’s cheaper than therapy”, and for me, it is therapy for my soul. When things are looking especially pretty I thank God and remind myself He is the creator and I’m just His tool.”
Marty’s long-term landscaping investments have created a garden paradise. Thanks for letting us through your garden gate!