Michigan is not only home of the incredible rock garden of Chris Hansen, (If you missed that post, you can read it here.) but also the beautiful garden of Hans Hansen. These two amazing guys share a love of plants and a last name, but not a family history. Hans Hansen is the head of Walters Gardens, Inc.’s hybridizing team and his plant introductions include many new cultivars of hostas, baptisia, peonies, lilies, hellebores and more. His garden is his laboratory. Want to take a walk with me?
Walking up to Hans’ home, you know you are in for a horticultural treat. Gardens surround the home, a bed is carved in the front lawn, and borders line the perimeter of the property.
A playful clematis with bell-shaped flowers clambers up the mailbox post and…
…the sound of falling water welcome visitors as they start up the driveway. Fountains rise among a collection of conifers in shades of yellow, green and blue.
You ask yourself, “Should I go to the right toward this beautiful scene? Or left to explore the front yard?”
The walk toward the front door is bursting with butterfly weed and lilies about to explode into bloom. The conifers play a supporting role in summer, but I am sure they become stars in Hans’ winter garden.
The front border is a lesson in artfully creating privacy without feeling unfriendly. Plants mix and mingle delightfully.
In a small section of shade, Hans shows off some magnificent specimens of hostas. A few fine-textured shrubs and perennials are perfectly positioned and coral bells offer colorful foliage.
Geranium ‘Rozanne’ scrambles over a yucca.
Along the side of the house, a large planting of pink-flowering astilbe and purple-leaved coral bells take the spotlight in a bed full of shade-loving plants.
Directly across a bit of lawn, a sun-drenched border features conifers, lilies, delphiniums, euphorbias and much more.
The blue flower spike of a delphinium is gorgeous with the golden foliage of Aralia ‘Sun King’ behind.
Could a lack of space between the back of the house and the property line keep Hans from planting a beautiful garden? Of course not. Instead, exclamation points of conifers, that must be spectacular in the winter, are planted with more shrubs and perennials.
The reward for rounding the corner – another great view!
Hydrangea ‘Invincibelle Ruby’ is currently the reigning queen of this border.
Conifers, astilbe, coral bells, ferns, lilies, hostas and more are tucked tightly together. I’ll bet weeds don’t have a chance in his garden!
This Rodgersia is one of the most beautiful I have seen!
The deck offers a fabulous view of the garden.
Agaves are an ideal choice for a gardener like Hans who spends more time in the garden than watering containers of flowering annuals.
And there were lilies…lots of beautiful lilies throughout the gardens.
Hans Hansen is a superhero to plant nerds like me. He not only has an amazing collection of cultivars, he plants them together in charming combinations in a landscape that is beautiful year round.
Garden with me!
Note: Walter’s Gardens, Inc. is North America’s leading wholesale grower of perennials. You can read more about them here.