The Spains Found the Perfect Retreat from City Life
After a visit to England nearly 20 years ago to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, avid gardeners Tom and Susan Spain became hooked on English gardening. So when the semi-retired couple decided to build their dream home in Meadows North, a small subdivision in northwest Gainesville, they felt a lush landscaping style would be an ideal complement to the home’s French country themes.
Susan had been admiring Jon George’s “fun and whimsical” landscaping designs for many years, and knew that Cottage Gardens was the perfect candidate to make their English garden paradise a reality.
“He’s so great to work with because he loves his work so much,” Susan said.
Described by Susan as organized chaos, the Spain’s yard features a wide variety of flowering plants, dozens of trees, luxurious green open spaces and a few hand-trimmed topiaries. An array of art can be spotted amongst the landscaping, including a specially made garden bench and a butterfly created with four different colors of violas and an ornamental cabbage.
Thanks to Jon’s planting strategy, the couple enjoys fresh blooms throughout the year, including during winter. The intricate showcase of greenery contains so many details, the Spains often discover something new while strolling through the yard.
“You get little surprises,” Susan explained. “Something fades, and all of a sudden something new is popping up.”
A variety of uncommon plants can be found throughout the yard, including gloxinia, which produces spires of blooms, and Susan’s favorite, the broad-leafed farfugium.
One of the couple’s favorite pastimes is to watch reactions from people walking by the yard from the front-facing window in their home office. Explained Susan, “It makes you feel so good when they stop to stare at the yard and get enjoyment from it, just as we do.”