Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Very Personal Garden

The last Saturday in April was a busy time in my small town, and for me. It was opening day at our farmers' market where I volunteered for a while. I then hopped over to a Master Gardener plant sale sponsored by the Ruston Garden Club (where fortunately I only bought one plant!). My main goal there was to purchase a ticket for their garden tour and see if I could quickly make it to at least two of the gardens on the tour before heading back to the market to help tear down. The first garden I toured, showcased here, was the very personal garden of Noula Rodakis.

The garden is European in style with formal beds filled with roses, boxwood and iris. Yet it also has informal areas and is very much a garden of memories for Noula. Noula is a native of Istanbul/Constantinople and her love of the Mediterranean is evident in the fruit trees and veggies she cultivates, as well as the relaxed seating areas throughout her garden. This garden was made for enjoying, and Noula is the gardener here (not a landscape service).

Entrance to vegetable garden

She has a lovely enclosed vegetable garden with a multitude of veggies, including her favorite - fava beans.

Fava beans

Fava beans aren't something you see in every Southern garden! Noula also has other veggies and some espaliered fruit trees.

An espaliered fruit tree (pear?)

More veggies

There are citrus trees scattered throughout her backyard, which amazes me since they're only half-hardy here. And another amazing plant? A giant (for Zone 8a) olive tree!

Yes, Virginia, olive trees will grow in north Louisiana (this is on the south side of the house, so it's somewhat protected).

A garden path follows a natural swale in the side yard.

An artful display

Delphiniums are not the easiest flowers to grow here.

A beautiful bay laurel tree

A grapevine covered pergola outside the art studio

Here's one of my favorite spots - a lovely seating area under a grapevine-bedecked pergola. I had the pleasure of joining Noula and her lovely daughter Olitsa here last Orthodox Easter when she had a magnificent spread of Greek food. Can you believe she laid this patio herself?

Shall we peek through the windows into the art studio?

I love her light-filled studio.

Noula's art studio

Looking from the art studio patio to the side yard

And here is the lovely Noula herself.

Noula Rodakis

What I like most about Noula's garden is that it's an expression of what she loves - her birthplace, travel, art, flowers, food, and her family.

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2013. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.


  1. I love this - thanks for sharing. I really like the raised brick pad for the bench, the gate to the vegetable garden, and everything else!

  2. Beautiful tribute Jean!

  3. As I was gazing at the photos of her lovely garden, I was thinking that she was not only a gardener but also an artist. And then, there is her studio! Her talent and fine eye show in her plantings and hardscape. She is quite talented and I envy that olive tree! Thanks for sharing this, Jean, and kudos to you for helping at the farmer's market.

  4. Very inspiring garden. Such a serene space :)

  5. What a wonderful garden! I wish we had garden tours here in Europe. If you want to see truly giant olive trees in zone 8, stop by my blog: http://ladyoflamancha.blogspot.com.es/2013/01/olive-garden_15.html

  6. What a treat to see this garden. Such personal creations by talented gardeners are the best kind to visit.

  7. What a beautiful garden! Besides the impressive variety of plants (and the hand-built patio!), I like the fact that she has created something that reflects her tastes, not someone else's idea of what a garden should be.

  8. A very nice garden. I especially like the path next to the swale. Thanks for the tour.

  9. What a lovely garden, I like all the hardscaping and artistic touches, and the curved trellis in the view from the art studio. I was growing fava beans and my Armenian neighbors saw them, they couldn't believe it and thought I wouldn't even know what they were!

  10. "..the curved trellis in the view from the art studio."

    I also loved that one.

  11. The European style garden would be my ideal garden.. Very much appreciate the tour.


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