James van Sweden, one of the best known landscape architects in the U.S., chose the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay to build his dream home and plant his dream garden. Naturally he applied the principles of the “The New American Garden” style of garden design that he and his firm created – sweeps of easy-care perennials and ornamental grasses, many of them native. But what’s different about this garden is a wilder look, as befits its undisturbed location along the Bay, and to achieve that wildness van Sweden used plants native to Eastern Maryland exclusively. (He coyly says he was trying to create an “ugly garden” but as you can tell from these photos, it’s hardly that.)
The dominant plants here are the sea grass and dune wheat that make up his seaside meadow, but tall Rudbeckias tower over the grasses in late summer.
Above, the view from the front door toward the driveway.
Above, my favorite view of the garden includes this inviting lap pool with a dramatic snake railing by local sculptor Ray Kaskey, sculptor of the World War II Memorial on the Mall.
Above, more Rudbeckias, grasses and Joe Pye Weed in late August.
Van Sweden’s ultra-modern home was designed by Suman Sorg, a D.C. architect who’s also a close friend – and now next-door neighbor. In a nice trade-off among friends, Van Sweden sold part of his lot to Sorg and then designed the landscape around her new home.
Photos above and below show Sorg’s home and garden.
Another tempting pool, this one surrounded by grasses and Hydrangea paniculata ‘Tardiva’.