foxtail lilies (Eremerus stenophyllus)Each garden space is defined by its topography as well as its plants. For instance, two generous stone steps mark the transition from the 28-by-25-foot Colour Wheel Garden to the Shade Garden. During the planning of the secondary axis, Deacon was reading Colour by Design by Nori and Sandra Pope, the Canadian couple who created a fabulous, colour-themed garden at England?s venerable Hadspen House. Inspired by their account, Deacon liked the idea of using plenty of colour to define the sitting area.

To start, he sketched out both the Colour Wheel and Kitchen gardens with sticks and string to see just what volume the initially tiny plants would assume. ?It?s all very well to do things on paper, but until you see it in three dimensions you don?t really know what the relationships will be,? he says. ?You have to move things around to make it work.?