Charming. Storybook. Cottage.
All words that describe a garden I had the pleasure of visiting last week.

From the very moment I approached the property, I knew it was special.
Pulling into the drive, I smiled at the shaker style cottage with teal accents.

I was quickly greeted by the owners, who were as welcoming as their garden.

We have known each other for years, but this is my first time to their home. With anticipation I followed them behind a secret gate through a boxwood hedge and along a path that led to a courtyard.

I reluctantly skipped the first steps of stone stairs leading to a pause point under the trees. Pause points are just that – a design or moment that gives you a reason to pause and take in the beauty of the moment.

The hillside of terraced gardens showed off anemones spreading among the ajuga, brunnera, and iris. The star of this garden terrace is a Japanese Maple Tree. After removing a dying boxwood, the maple is flourishing. The deep red color adds just the right tones to this shady spot.

Across from this garden is the first of many seating areas. Outlined in small boxwoods and treasured finds, this is prime dinner seating. Oh, did I mention the mood music of a babbling pond?

The small pond was created to accent the courtyard and provide a home for several of the largest goldfish I have ever seen. With lily pads floating in the water, I’m sure it is also home to a few frogs.

Before leaving this area, I couldn’t resist the second set of stone steps. They guide me through a naturalized site of hellebores and a pine needle carpet. At the end of the path is a gazebo crafted just for this space. Here we relax on a pale blue settee under the breeze of a ceiling fan. This spot has rugs, tables, and lamps. I love seeing beautiful lamps in outdoor settings.

Speaking of lighting. The property is scattered with lanterns mounted on handmade columns. They are graceful and subtly blend into the background until casting their evening glow.

While here, we watch as deer meander down the hill. I ask about the abundance of hosta, which are guaranteed deer food in my garden. They grow here thanks to the owners carefully spraying with deer repellant.

Coming from the gazebo, an iron basket on a pedestal catches my eye. It is old and fascinating and has a history. When filled with wood and set on fire, it guided ships into a foggy New Orleans harbor. Now it stands in all its glory in the middle of a wooded spot begging visitors to hear its history.

Not to be outdone is the 1700s soapstone basin atop a hand-chiseled base. This stunning piece is from a buttery, an English larder or cellar. The water provides a quick drink for butterflies and all of nature’s creatures who share the woods.

As we move around to the back terrace, another lovely seating area is nearby. When some plumbing work needed repairing, the owners took the opportunity to move mountains, ok not mountains – but a small bank, and create outside access and this relaxing area. Here you are tucked in the woods and feel far away from the city bustle.

The owners of this garden believe in the value of antiques and craftsmanship. The iron rails are custom to the property, the stone work was done by hand, and sections of decades-old iron fencing are always right where needed to accent a pause point.

Traveling around the house we pass a smoke tree, a river birch with its unique peeling bark, and a tulip poplar. A wooden frame from a Nashville church provides wall art as we rest on the covered porch and gaze upon a garden filled with irises, lamb’s ears, autumn joy sedum, clematis, and hibiscus. Again, the view is soft and comfortable, and joyful to the senses.

My car is parked near the wisteria arbor. The last few clusters of flowers are hanging on late into the blooming seasons. Keeping a watchful eye is an iron bunny perched on a specially designed shelf. I pause again as leaving, taking in this charming cottage tucked into the woods as in all the storybooks.

Gracious owners, a beautiful garden, and a cozy home – I loved every minute and every step through this garden.