Northshore Home

Fall 2015

Northshore Home magazine highlights the best in architectural design, new construction and renovations, interiors, and landscape design.

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54 FALL 2015 cultivate background are 15 12-foot rhododendrons and dozens of Casablanca lilies that fill the garden with fragrance every August. 'Autumn Joy' sedum and Bronze Coral Bells (Heuchera) stand sentry along the edge. "I have a lot of decorative foliage," Kyle says in understatement. The other key to the garden is Kyle's husband, who gathers yards of oak leaves that fall on the property every autumn and turns them into mulch for Kyle to use. "Bill is the main reason my garden has been so suc- cessful," she says. "It's such a nice cycle of using natural materials." Today both their sons—David, 37, a humani- ties teacher in San Francisco, and Kevin, 35, a winemak- er in Napa, California—are avid gardeners. Kyle admits that her love of gardening had a rocky start. In the first 10 years in the Topsfield home, she bought plants that love full sun, she says. "It took me a while to figure out the kind of garden I had." When her son David was a sprout, Kyle recalls him saying, "Mom, the garden is starting without you!" She began to see that if she worked with what she had—a landscape that gets "about four hours of nice sun a day" in the growing season—it would thrive. In the spring, she digs three big circles around the drip line of the tree peonies and distributes a mixture of super phosphate, osmocote, bone meal, and Epsom salt. To protect the garden from deer, she uses deer and rabbit repellent from the Liquid Fence Co., with a dash of Goya hot pepper sauce. The rest of it is up to the plants. "The plants have to earn their space," Kyle says. "If they give up and die, I figure it doesn't need to be in my garden. After a while you don't get the blue Corydalis to grow." Everything here has taken its rightful place, coexist- ing in harmony (except for the deer). "Mostly I watch the garden," Kyle says. She loves her community, and she and Bill give an annual party for the cul-de-sac. And now and then Kyle, 69, tries something new, like participating in her first triathlon, held last July in Amesbury, after her neighbor, Shannon Howe, suggested it. "I was terrified," Kyle says. But she finished and, as the only entry in the 64- 69 age group, won. "It was a new challenge," she laughs. And she cultivates the right attitude. "What the gar- den has taught me is patience," Kyle says. "You wait. If it doesn't work out this year, there's always next year." The garden derives interest from "decorative foliage" dotted with pops of seasonal color and fragrance.

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