In planning his winter residence, Charles Austin Buck placed the garden landscape design of Pinewood Estate before the architectural design of the house. Take inspiration from the beautiful flower bed designs surrounding this 1930s home.
All of the gardens on the 7.59 acre Pinewood Estate were planned by landscape architect Williams Lyman Phillips.
The garden was designed prior to and guided the plans for the 12,900 square foot Spanish retreat.
In 1932, when the house was built, Charles Buck was the vice president of Bethlehem Steel. Buck occupied the home until his death in 1945.
Pinewood Estate is now owned by Bok Tower Gardens, a 50 acre botanical treasure chest established in 1929 as a gift to the American people.
Pinewood sits adjacent to Bok Tower in Lake Wales, Fl. There is a separate admission fee to tour the interior of the house but visitors to Bok Tower Gardens may stroll the gardens surrounding the estate at no extra charge.
The Courtyard Garden
A Mediterranean courtyard welcomes visitors to the front entrance of the home. The central feature of this expansive space is the Spanish frog fountain.
There is plenty of room for people to congregate here and benches for those who need to rest or wish to sit and study the many design details here.
The towering herbaceous stalks and banana-like leaves of giant bird of paradise plants cast dramatic shadows on the walls. They and the golden butterfly palms on either side of the door are the dominate plants used in this area.
Several paths radiate from the pavered circle out into different gardens around the house.
This path leads to the citrus grove. The single step is clearly marked by the colorful tile and 2 large clay pots.
The tile used here and throughout the estate was imported from Cuba.
This has got to be the most stylish citrus grove in Florida!
Sheared citrus trees are arranged in neat rows. Each tree stands upon a single, shapely leg. I cannot imagine how the trunks were made to grow in this fashion.
The shadow that each tree casts on the lawn adds even more interest to this edible garden landscape design.
The end of the grove closest to the house features a large Brunfelsia bush. It was in full bloom on the day we visited. That’s me capturing a photo of its purple and white blooms up close.
Backyard Garden Landscape Design
at Pinewood Estate
This beautiful walled garden is behind the house. There is a vegetable garden on the other side of this wall.
The rectangle of lawn at the center of this garden landscape design is outlined by a narrow walking path.
Having an L-shaped wall enclosing 2 sides and leaving the other long side open to the landscape beyond keeps this garden from feeling closed in. It also preserves the view of the mature trees planted throughout this large property and hides the potager.
A vine sheared to resemble a hedge clothes the wall.
Identical plantings in each of the narrow borders that run the length of this garden maintain symmetry. On this side, a low hedge stands in for the wall.
The Use of Color in Landscape Design and Gardening:
Color, more than any other design element, sets the mood in a garden. Hot hues make visitors feel happy and excited while cool tones evoke serenity and give a classier more upscale look to a planting.
In this garden, happy yellows and exciting oranges (snapdragons) are balanced against cool blues (violas) to create a planting that is classic and classy but contains enough life and joy to stave off boredom.
Here is a closer view of the fountain which forms the focal point of this garden. Large blue Agave plants stand sentry on either side of the water feature along with 2 flowering trees.
The placement of these plants continues the symmetrical theme while highlighting the fountain.
The palm fronds rising up from behind the wall at this end of the garden are the costapalmate leaves of Florida’s state tree. This glimpse of palm foliage lends tropical ambiance to the vignette.
This is the view from the fountain back toward the house. A columnar evergreen shrub adds height and structure to the mix at one corner while low-growing grasses form deep green pools at the feet of the columns holding up the porch’s chocolate tiled roof.
Vegetable and Herb Garden
This neatly-laid-out kitchen garden demonstrates that practical considerations were not overlooked in planning the garden landscape design at Pinewood.
A low Podocarpus hedge corrals the edible plants in this area.
The focal point here is a large pumpkin pepper growing in a container which sits on a circle of gravel. This is ringed by all sorts of leafy greens.
Climbing vegetables are just beginning to scramble up bamboo trellises placed at the back of the garden near the estate’s walls.
Wooden posts sunk into the ground hold baskets of flowering annuals. Cascading herbs like oregano or prostrate rosemary would have been just as pleasing to the eye and more in keeping with the theme of this kitchen garden landscape design.