Originally created 05/19/00

Garden is couple's dream come true



Russell and Dorothy Moores have a Moorish garden.

That's Moorish as in a traditional Spanish-style garden, replete with reflecting pond, bog, waterfall, stone terraces, irrigation system, low-level lighting and plenty of lush plantings. It's divided into separate terraces, with cool, shady and warm, sunny areas.

The garden complements their Spanish-style home on Milledge Road.

A Spanish garden symbolizes an earthly paradise and serves as a private retreat for contemplation or relaxation. It frequently includes fragrant flowers and the sounds of rushing water and birds.

The Moores garden is lush with camellias, azaleas, sable palmetto and windmill palms, three types of Japanese maples, butterfly bushes, carpet and miniature roses, dwarf nandinas, spiraea and sasanqua. Their son Darryl, a landscape architect and owner of Terra Verde, a landscape company in Atlanta, designed the garden so something would be in bloom year-round.

The Mooreses are happy with their son's work. "It's so nice to hear the waterfall," said Mr. Moores. "It is really wonderful. We've been so pleased with it."

"We have problems staying inside," Mrs. Moores said. "We stay outside all the time."

The garden consists of a few stone terraces at different levels. One level spotlights a reflecting pond with a classical statue spouting water over lily pads and other water plants.

Another level features a bog spilling over a waterfall, goldfish, frogs and a well-used birdbath.

The garden attracts much more wildlife than the yard ever did before the renovation. Birds, frogs and butterflies are frequent visitors.

"The birds think the bog is their personal swimming pool," Mrs. Moores said. "They splash and carry on. Every day I go out and replant those water plants. Every day they are laying over again."

The garden required drastic reshaping of the back yard, and having a landscape architect in the family made it possible.

"I've been meaning to do this," Mrs. Moores said. "I've dreamed of doing this forever."

The six other Moores children who had grown up in the yard were not as excited with its demolition. "They were all a bit upset that the yard went," Mrs. Moores said.

Surprisingly, maintenance in this lush garden is minimal. It takes about half the time to mow the remaining grass. "I have to put out a lot of pine straw right now," said Mrs. Moores. "Eventually, all the plants will fill in, and I won't have to do that. I pull weeds and grass right now."

Eyesores like Mrs. Moores' shed and a chain-link fence were cleverly hidden. Mrs. Moores took advantage of the ivy growing beneath the fence and intertwined it in the links so it climbs the fence.

"Darryl hated the site of my shed," said Mrs. Moores. "My husband built lattice work, and I planted jasmine below it. Eventually, it will camouflage it quite well."

The project began with the leveling and grading of the yard in mid-January and plantings in mid-February. Bad weather delayed the completion of the irrigation and electrical systems, which were finished by mid-April.

"We thought it was full and lush when they put it in," said Mr. Moores. Now they look at photos taken after the planting and realize it is much more lush and will be even more so by next summer.

The best time to do a garden project like this is in the winter in order to get an extra year of growth in the spring.

"When you put these plants in, they're sleeping, then they come out," said Mr. Moores. "When you do all of this in the summer, they're already dead and not going to do anything until next spring."

Reach Valerie McIntosh at (706) 823-3351 or newsroom@augustachronicle.com.