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The Queen of Landscapes

Elizabeth Gardens stands as a monument to indigenous plants and regal design.

(page 3 of 4)

Statues, fountains and water are also inviting. A hallmark of his designs is structure. It is a visual trick that can entice a visitor into a garden, just as a fireplace might draw a guest into a room.

“It may be a small wall, a pillar or column, a large iron or stone planter as a focal point, or a beautiful sculpture,” he says. “Structure can capture the eye to make the background disappear. It can draw the eye into the distance, or it can add an interesting element that stands out from an otherwise all-green landscape.”

The verdant slice that Duncan and his wife, Christina Powell, call home has been in the family for four generations. The property was purchased by William Brinton Harvey, Duncan’s great-great grandfather, as a gift for his daughter and her husband.

Mother Nature provided abundant materials for building the first home on the land, which stands today.

“They took down American chestnut trees and took it to the sawmill,” Duncan says. “The stone for the house was quarried on the property.”

Over the years, generations lived off the land, raising pigs and growing vegetables, flowers and fruit trees. Duncan’s father was an accountant, but young Bill gravitated back to the soil.

As a boy, he dug up seedlings from the woods to try his hand at growing trees. The saplings didn’t flourish, but his love for the land came into full flower as he started tending the property for his parents. Soon, Duncan was taking care of neighbors’ yards.

His gardens are a vibrant showroom of sorts for his business, White Oak Landscape Management Inc., as well as an incubator for new ideas.

In early summer, Duncan introduces palms, banana trees and other tropicals to the garden, showcasing them in large pots. “Tropicals put on a show in a container that is more bold and entertaining than any impatiens,” he says. “Plus, they last from the day you plant them until a hard frost.”

In a rural property, deer, who can strip a plant in minutes, present a constant challenge for gardeners.

Page 4: The Queen of Landscapes, continues...

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