Trudi Temple’s garden

On Sunday after the official Spring Fling activities had ended, Mr. McGregor’s Daughter picked up several of the late-stayers for additional garden tours she’d arranged in the western suburbs of Chicago. The star attraction was the beautiful garden of author Trudi Temple, who welcomed us with open arms and generously gave us hours of her time in both her garden and her lovely home.

Trudi immigrated to the U.S. from Germany in 1963. The sign on her home translates roughly to “House of Flowers,” according to Diana, who speaks German fluently and conversed a bit with Trudi in her native tongue.

Trudi met us in her sunny front garden and gave us free reign to take photos, which I did. Unfortunately, it was midday and most of my photos didn’t turn out due to the harsh light and deep shadows. I scrapped all those and saved these few, mostly close-ups or shade-garden images, but I can assure you the garden was magnificent, with sunny sweeps of lawn curving through her deep, one-acre lot and bordered by a mix of dappled-sun and shade gardens.

Yellow peony

As we moved into the back garden, Trudi invited us to sit with her in a shady garden room. We were able to ask all kinds of questions about her gardening style, the history of the garden, fertilizing methods, etc. Afterward she gave us a thorough tour of the rest of her garden, which contains a large pond hidden behind the garden room we’d just rested in.

Intimate sitting areas are placed throughout the garden, and it was nearly irresistible not to sit for a while in each one of them to look at the views.

The pond is fed by a naturalistic waterfall, adding its music to a garden already filled with bird song.

Near the driveway, a five-foot-high wall shields the view of the garden and offers a perch for personal objects and planters.

A face on one of the planters.

Trudi has two extremely tall (to this Texan’s eyes) redwood trees, which she planted from seed about 30 years ago, if I remember right. Can you imagine gardening in one place so long? I can’t, but the results are wonderful.

Mr. McGregor’s Daughter, Trudi, Diana, Cindy, and Mary Ann

After we’d seen the garden, Trudi kindly invited us into her home, where she treated us to homemade juice and German cookies—delicious! She autographed copies of her books for several people too. Eventually it was time to leave, but I won’t soon forget Trudi’s garden or the gardener herself. My thanks to Trudi for her generous hospitality!

And thanks to MMD for making it all possible. What a treat!

All material © 2006-2009 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

21 Responses

  1. What a treat, indeed, and thank you for sharing it with us!

  2. Yes, thank you so much for sharing this.

  3. Diana Kirby says:

    I can’t wait to post my Trudi pictures — there were so many beautiful things there. And it was so relaxing to just sit and visit in and enjoy the garden while talking about it, wasn’t it? I need to spend more time doing that in my own garden — Trudi certainly is a wise woman and I’m so glad she shared her garden and her philosophy with us.

  4. Robin says:

    That was quite a wonderful treat! I’m sure that will be a treasured memory!

  5. Truly, Pam, it was my pleasure. I just wish I could have shared this special garden with everyone. It was an incredible, memorable afternoon. Thank you, for joining me.

  6. Wow…again, great pictures. What is that gorgeous red one?
    What it must take to keep a garden like that going. Just lovely.

    Linda, I left unlabeled the ones I don’t know well enough to ID. Many of the northern plants are foreign to me and such a contrast to what I can grow here in Austin.

    Trudi told us she is 73 and still does all the planting and most of the maintenance herself. Once every few weeks she has a helper for bigger chores, like heavy trimming. She said if she feels stiff or achy, she goes for a walk to loosen up and then gets back to the garden. —Pam

  7. Hi Pam, beautiful photos. Really show the temper of Trudi’s garden. Wish I’d been there but can’t be there all at once.~~Dee

  8. Thank you for such a beautiful glimpse.

  9. Gail says:

    It looks and sounds like we missed a beautiful garden and experience~~thank you for sharing it. gail

  10. Leslie says:

    Thank you for sharing your photos…it does look like a lovely garden!

  11. Bob Pool says:

    I get busy and don’t check your blog for a few days and look what I missed. Great pictures and a great tour. Your job of helping us see what you saw was excellent.

  12. Lori says:

    I am in love with the shade garden photos you posted. I wish I could have been there!

  13. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Trudy’s garden is delightful. I have been there a couple of times. I only met her once briefly. What fun to have spent time with her. As you say gardening in one place for so long must be fantastic. Seeing trees actually mature. Watching the garden change as you know it must over the years. A little slice of heaven.

  14. Frances says:

    Oh to have been able to do and see everything! Trudi’s home and garden look delightful and I am sure there were many ideas that could have been gleaned from her knowledge and generous sharing of it. Abundant seating in any garden is always a plus.

  15. The garden looks nice. I’m disappointed I didn’t get to see it. I had expressed interest in going and then never got confirmation.

  16. Rose says:

    Pam, It was a pleasure to meet you this weekend; glad you survived my driving through the winding roads of “suburban” Chicago:) Thank you for sharing all these beautiful photos with us. Beckie and I had originally planned to stay for this tour on Sunday, but by noon, we were so exhausted that the thought of driving anywhere but home seemed too daunting. I am sorry we missed this–what a beautiful garden! And thank you for the beautiful photos of the Botanic Garden as well. I’ve already decided I must make a trip back to see this in its entirety (if that’s possible!). So much to see, so little time. The poppies were indeed breathtaking.

  17. Rose says:

    I forgot to add, Pam, that I agree the Chicago Gardeners deserve a huge thank-you for all their hard work. But I also think you Austin Flingers deserve a big thank you for initiating Spring Fling. You obviously did such a great job last year that even more of us wanted to join in this year!

  18. Cindy, MCOK says:

    The visit to Trudi’s garden was such a special treat, I feel very fortunate indeed to have been part of the Tour du DuPage! Trudi is such a delightful and inspirational gardener. I’m looking forward to going through my own pictures and seeing what ideas I can use in my own garden!

  19. Layanee says:

    I almost feel like I was there. What a beautiful garden with a delightful gardener in residence.

  20. Oh Pam, this one made me tear up. Your photos may not be as perfect as you wanted but they look great to me – especially the one of Trudi surrounded by 4 beautiful bloggers!

    The first time I went to Trudi’s garden was June 6, 1991 and it was love at first sight. Although I’d made strides in turning the front yard into a large enclosed front garden, it still had that tentative new garden look. Seeing what Trudi had done seemed to validate my efforts and hearing her words inspired me to take bigger bites. I came home and immediately removed another section of lawn for a mixed border.
    Trudi’s energy was always so amazing- at every repeat visit there’d be something new or something torn out and redone in her unceasing quest to make it better.
    Her book is wonderful and sure wish the Victory Garden TV show would put up garden visits from former seasons on YouTube – when Jim Wilson went to Trudi’s garden the result was both entertaining and enlightening!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    Thanks for sharing the story of your meeting Trudi, Annie. You won’t be surprised to hear that, at 73, she’s still tearing up sections of her garden. A whole swath of lawn path in the back had recently been mulched over and turned into a new planting area. —Pam

  21. Wow! Those Spanish bluebells look ginormous…unless they’re something else. It all looks so cool, green, shady, and colorful. Did I mention cool. I don’t think I’d want to come back to Texas summer after Trudi’s garden. I think I’d ask her if she wanted to adopt me. I’d do some heavy garden work for her in exchange.