Anne Barone of Homeland stands in her shade garden. (Barbara Haddock Taylor,…)
When Dr. Anne Barone moved into her home in Guilford in 2000, she didn't have a backyard so much as a forest populated mostly with dying pine trees. She cut down the forest, except for a crape myrtle and a Japanese maple, and started from scratch.
She began with building a patio and a koi pond. Then she read some gardening books and started to buy plants.
As an emergency room physician, Barone says, she didn't have much time for gardening until she retired five years ago. Then her garden really began to blossom.
"I would go to Home Depot and find whatever was on sale, put them in and move them around because I didn't like the colors together," she says. "I just want it to be pretty."
Barone says her parents, who were Greek immigrants, introduced her to gardening when she was a child. The family lived above their restaurant in Bolton Hill and in the back was a fig tree. Barone says it was her job each fall to dig around the tree, lay it on its side and cover it with leaves and tarp to keep out the winter chill. "That was my introduction to gardening," she says with a laugh.
Although she didn't like the job then, she has a fig tree now in her own yard. But she points out that she doesn't bother to dig it up and cover it each year. "It's warmed up considerably since then," she says.
Barone says colors are important to her and she spends much of her time trying to get plants whose colors she believes go together. Pinks and yellows dominate.
And although it isn't large, the garden feels larger than it is because it is divided into a number of rooms, each filled with surprises. Moss grows on a smiling sculpture beneath the fountain at the koi pond; a lace hydrangea is tucked into the corner of a shade garden.
Her design will be on display next year in the Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage.
"This yard has evolved so much," Barone says. "I'm addicted to it."
Favorite Plants: Japanese iris, climbing roses, hydrangeas, Hakone grass.
Tips: A successful garden starts with the soil, Barone says. Her garden contained a lot of clay, so she had to amend the soil. "You can put a $5 plant in a $50 hole," she says.
Runners-up: Karen Gatzke and Sharon Rossi, Catonsville