Linda Hostetler’s Garden of Happy Surprises

So this will be my last post about the 2017 Garden Bloggers’ Fling, and it seems right and proper to end with one of the very best of the many fine gardens we visited.


This was another Northern Virginia garden, that of garden designer Linda Hostetler. Above is a view from the street. As the title indicates, this was a garden full of happy surprises. The surprises could be objects of striking color, inspiring plant combinations,  or creatures sharing the garden with people. For its size this garden had plenty of winding paths, as well as vignettes that suddenly revealed themselves to the delight of the visitor.


There were plants to enjoy, for sure. I liked her use of Bear’s Breeches (Acanthus mollis), which I don’t have in my own garden.


Also this vertical color combination: the burgundy Coleus, orange Daylilies and dark purple Smokebush (Cotinus coggygria).


Is this lion cowardly, or just tired?


Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana) and Hosta – I never thought of putting them together, but I like the mix of broad and narrow leaves. Plus, the flowers complement each other nicely.


Now that’s a bird house! Perhaps the site of an avian Fall of the House of Usher.


There were at least two small ponds, each lushly planted. I love the stairstep waterfall that feeds this pond.


A glowing orb adds mystery to a scene of primeval green.


Wish I could remember the name of this magenta flower – it was really striking.


More Bear’s Breeches with red Crocosmia.


A narrow path makes its way through colorful plantings.


Another path of stone leads to a sitting area, one of several.


Calla Lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopia) added a tropical touch.


Another pond, with a nice clump of  blue Pickerel Weed (Pontederia cordata).


The ponds were very frog-friendly.

Papyrus (Caperus papyrus).


Another artificial stream rushing through the garden.


This garden had all kinds of interesting objects in a particular shade of intense blue (cobalt blue, I’ve been told).




A curving path lined with boxwood, one of the more formal-looking features in this garden.


There isn’t a lot of lawn in the back garden, but there is this inviting area with benches placed against a stone wall.


A blue arbor serves as an entrance to the lawn area, with an Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) off to the right.

We really could have used more time to enjoy this beautiful and energizing garden.

That’s all for now.


46 Comments on “Linda Hostetler’s Garden of Happy Surprises”

  1. What an interesting garden…. I love the winding path & it gives time to look at the layers of colourful plants on either side. The seating area against the wall is lovely… Wonderful garden in all. It has given me more ideas for plant shopping. I like the Bear’s Breeches ….The name & the flower..

  2. What a great garden, full of surprises. What is the size, do you remember, because there’s an awful lot packed into the space.
    Attended a talk on designing gardens earlier this fall, and the seating area is reminiscent of those described.

  3. I first visited Linda’s garden about 15 years ago and have been back on several occasions. Each time there was something new and enchanting to see. We were together with her and Ralph on a tour to Seattle, and she visited my garden in Chapel Hill (lots of great suggestions.)
    Linda is a fabulous garden designer and a grand lady. I have missed seeing her since we moved to Charlotte.

  4. How beautiful! I particularly like the cobalt blue accents and the various water features. I think the lion may be old. He looks like he wants to pounce but maybe wonders if it is worth the effort.

  5. What an interesting garden. I would never have thought of using cobalt blue but it really works. I like the tired lion. The curved path looks most enticing.
    Beware of introducing acanthus, it looks dramatic but it is very invasive and imposssible to get rid of.

  6. What a luxuriant garden. Filled with such healthy lush plants. I don’t blame you for wanting to linger there. So much to see and so little time seems to be the mantra of a garden tour especially when you land in a garden with such pleasures. I have tried to grow Bears Britches several times. I don’t know if it is my soil or the seeming constant bouts of drought that gets it here.

  7. That really is a lovely garden – great photos too. I love that blue as a theme throughout the garden. Very inspiring. Oh, and I think that lion is just bored – he’d love to jump through those water features and grasses, but being made of stone has its disadvantages!

  8. What I loved about this garden was how it seemed to comfortably develop a personality all its own, with no pretense or attempt to follow a certain aesthetic, but just a naturally unfolding imagination of the designer. I can’t decide whether the lion looks anxious or grief-ridden–but there’s a haunted look in those eyes!

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