Gossip in the Garden

Harmony in the Garden's Chattier Side

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Gardeners and their Gardens: Robert Bellamy


While visiting Dallas last week for the Garden Writers Association’s annual symposium, one of the highlights of the week was touring many different gardens.  One of my very favorite gardens of all was created by garden designer Robert Bellamy.  Over the past 25 years, Robert has slowly acquired neighboring properties in Old East Dallas, ultimately creating a ‘compound’ where he lives, works and entertains year-round.  As well as being a gifted garden designer, he’s also a talented artist, creating original art, mosaics, sculptures and water features for his garden.  But what really draws me to this particular space is his ability to weave salvaged ‘junk’ throughout the garden, without having it look tacky. This garden is truly a one-of-a-kind creation.

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Believe me, Dallas is HOT.  With summer temperatures averaging in the 90’s, this garden was especially inviting as Robert has mastered the art of creating the illusion of lush and cooling shade, despite the suffocating heat.  As you wander from one garden room to another, it feels as if you’re Alice lost in Robert’s Wonderland, easily spending hours taking the details of each and every corner.



I mean, seriously – look at this fabulous covered, outdoor living room!  Complete with a comfy sofa with tons of cushions and a beautiful stained glass window.

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Every corner is literally filled with artistic touches, some found at salvage yards, some made by Robert himself.  All causing the lucky visitor to sit down and spend awhile in this shady corner of the garden.

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And what living room would be complete without a fireplace?  This one of a kind is made, of course, by Robert himself.

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But wait – it gets even better!  Walk around to the backside of the fireplace and you’ll see he’s turned it into a fountain (one of many water sources in the garden).

Throughout the garden there are many different water sources, both still and moving, that further add to the overall feeling that you’re in  a cool and restful place.

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Some of my favorite aspects of this garden are Robert’s use of salvaged ‘junk’, thoughtfully woven throughout his planting beds and artistically created into fences, gates and murals.

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From the artfully placed swag glass, to the leftover metal scraps from previous jobs, Robert combines them with his mosaic creations to create one stunning vignette after another.

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This garden teems with LIFE.  From the chickens in their chicken coop, to the many different birdcages hanging throughout the garden, to the insects buzzing in the densely planted flower borders there’s no mistaking this for a stuffy, traditional garden.  This is one to be leisurely enjoyed by ALL!


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And what garden is complete without different spots for the guests to pause and take in their surroundings?

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This garden is no exception, though the seating areas are just a tad out of the ordinary (but then again, what would you expect in a garden such as this)?

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This is truly a garden created and defined by the imagination of Robert Bellamy.  And one that I feel so fortunate to have visited.

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5 Responses to Gardeners and their Gardens: Robert Bellamy

  1. Rebecca, your post had me rummaging my book shelf for the book in which I first discovered this amazing artist’s garden. I know that outdoor living room with the built-in columns very well. Couldn’t find the book, though. I thought it was Val Easton’s “Artists in their Gardens.” Maybe it was a magazine piece. Whatever, I’m so glad you’ve jogged my memory on this designer, and thanks for the tour. This man’s imagination is too fecund for words!

    • Denise – Isn’t it funny when you see a garden in a magazine (or post) and say to yourself ‘I’ve BEEN there!’, even if you haven’t? As an avid magazine reader I feel that way so many times, too. His garden was truly amazing – my favorites are those that are absolutely infused with someone’s spirit and personal touches. Glad you enjoyed it!