Saturday, January 16, 2016

Bill Noble's Garden

I was lucky enough to visit Bill Noble's Garden in Norwich, Vermont this past October. I was accompanying Claire Takacs, an exceptional garden photographer, on a shoot and while she diligently photographed the garden I got to walk around the garden with Bill Noble and talk about plants and garden design. It was a cold October day, with spitting snow and a punchy cold wind, but then the clouds would blow open and let in rays of spectacular fall light, illuminating the garden.  The garden is great: it is beautifully designed, incredibly varied from garden area to garden area, and chock full of interesting plants. I love this particular shot above with the upright Thuja occidentalis 'DeGroot's Spire' against the pollarded poplars (Populus nigra var. 'Thevestina') waving around in the wind.

The main perennial beds are laid out in quadrants with long, straight axial paths. The plantings were composed of large competitive perennial groups, asters, phlox, joe pye, iris, and sedum, with some anchoring shrubs. This time of year the colors were rich maroons, purple, earthy pinks, and lush greens. There were flashes of white from the phlox and the bleached out Deschampsia cespitosa, as seen here in the foreground.

I hadn't seen this plant before Leucosceptrum stellipilum and it was very stately that cold October day. Any plant just coming into its own late in the fall is always celebrated. This unusual plant came from Ed Bowen at Opus Plants who is a great plantsman growing and selling amazing plants.

The 'Silver and Gold' garden, named after the Cornus, creates an interesting mosaic of foliage colors and textures.

This part of the garden is like an old foundation garden and it is built on the site of an old stable. There is a long evergreen hedge on the left and an old stone wall on the right, giving it a feeling of having walls around it. The plantings are fairly horizontal, and planted in large groups, and it gives the space tapestry of mostly evergreen interweaving foliage.

In this area of the garden, Bill Noble has a nice collection of small, alpine plants and unusual specimens built atop an old milking parlor. Including this rare find, Serratula seoanei, whose name was forgotten until Ed Bowen chimed in (thank you Ed!).

A great garden by a great gardener. Check out his work here!


  1. Thanks for the shout-out, Helen! Your mystery plant is Serratula seoanei. Best, Ed

    1. Thanks Ed for the plant ID, of course you would know!!
      Wishing you the best.