When Penney Hubbard first contacted landscape photographer Roger Foley regarding her wish to do a book about her garden, he was a little skeptical. “A lot of times, gardeners think their garden is good enough to fill a book,” he says. In this case, however, it turned out to be true. Hubbard and her husband, A.C., had been perfecting their two-acre hillside property in suburban Baltimore for 45 years, so they had a story to tell. And for nearly all that time, they had been working with renowned Maryland landscape designer Kurt Bluemel.
Foley photographed Walnut Hill seven times over the course of 2014 for what would become a gorgeous, 265-page book rich in colorful, lush detail. “I always love to go back to a garden during different seasons,” he comments. “Things that stand out during one season will recede during another. The challenge is to find what’s extraordinary about each season’s garden.”
Written by Kathy Hudson and published last year, On Walnut Hill: The Evolution of a Garden (Hillside Press, Wilson, Wyoming; 2015; $50) is interspersed with the history of the Hubbards’ garden—and by extension, their life—while pictorial essays chronicle the changes in the landscape throughout the seasons.
Sadly, Bluemel died before the project was finished—and that, says Hubbard, made her more determined to make the book the best it could be. “I wanted to document the garden’s evolution over many years,” she explains. “I also wanted to honor Kurt’s role. He taught us so much, it was an awakening when he began working with us.”