Garden Tour: Cabell’s Winding Backyard Garden

May 17, 2013

After walking through Cabell’s lovely home, I want to show you one of my absolute favorite parts of the house: the back porch and garden. It’s so peaceful here, you can’t help but relax at the sight of a giant fireplace, right? There are plenty of places to sit and stay a while.

Cabell keeps all her garden tools close at hand. Containers, trowels, gloves, plant markers, fertilizer, vases, anything you can think of.

As you walk off the porch and into the garden, you’re met with a perfect stone pathway to the left and stairs out to the right. The landscape is so natural, I just love it.
Cabell’s potting bench is just to the left of the photo above. What an awesome place to re-pot a few plants. Cabell’s artwork is everywhere around the house and the garden is no exception. And there’s a funny story to go with this one… If you read Cabell’s definition of “Garden” here you might notice one word has been misspelled. She is (admittedly) notorious for misspelling words in her artwork. So Cabell told us she was just working in the garden one day, and her husband, Mike, was sitting on the porch. She asked him what he was doing and his response… “Oh, just discov-ing life.” She had no idea what he was talking about, but he told her she’d get it eventually. A while later, Cabell noticed the spelling error and remembered “disov-ing life!” – ha! 
This is a simple story but it’s one of my favorites. It takes on so much meaning because Cabell’s husband, Mike, passed away a few years ago. I have re-written this sentence that comes after that sentence a few times now, and there’s no way to properly express how heartbreaking the loss, but how Cabell’s unwavering faith has kept her joyful. I will always be in awe of her. 

Back to the garden…. columbine! A new favorite of mine, these are some of the funniest shaped flowers I’ve ever seen. In this shady corner, the flowers are elevated in a terra cotta pot, while the hosta and creeping jenny create a nice, green groundcover.

I love how these terra cotta pots have become such a part of the garden, they are grown over and half visible, sacrificing themselves for the vines and greenery. I love the sense of permanence this lends to a garden. Since getting back to my own garden after our visit to Cabell’s, I’m looking around for perfect places to add trios of terra cotta.
As you walk up the path, there are birds chirping and bees buzzing everywhere. Not bad for what Cabell calls her “morning commute” to the studio…

Looking back at the porch from the studio is quite a lovely view.

Cabell laughed when she told us about the wisteria she’s growing up the right side of the porch. I can’t wait to see it take over!

 Don’t you just want to hop in and stay a while? I could have walked around the garden for hours. I can’t wait to go back to see another season’s blooms and what Cabell has added. It’s a long process, gardening, but what a beautiful result.

Copyright Whitney Curtis 2010-2013

5 thoughts on “Garden Tour: Cabell’s Winding Backyard Garden

  1. emily

    i’ve had your post up on my computer screen all day, and i keep scrolling back and forth through the images. so many details! you can tell she has put a lot of time and thought and effort into her garden for many years. i love that every surface has either something growing on it, or something handmade. gorgeous spot.

  2. Jenny

    Wow, what a great space! How do you find such awesome places to feature?! My husband and I just moved to 4 acres, so I love seeing all these ideas.

  3. whitney

    Haha, thanks Jenny! i just have really great friends who are letting me photograph their homes and spaces. They also happen to have really great style!


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