elephant ears and the bright foliage of a coleus plant are
just a few of the selections Van Ommeren grows in terra cotta
pots. The pots flank the base of a concrete fountain with a
lionís head. An Asian-inspired wooden trellis frames a stone
bench. Hanging pots of annuals offer a dramatic counterpoint
to the lush environment.
Peter Van Ommerenís backyard proves the point that small can be
beautiful. Not letting size reduce his vision, over the past 15 years,
this Wauwatosa homeowner has planted 18 trees in his postage-stamp
size space while leaving room for both a significant selection of
perennials and a bit of grassy lawn. Using the dwarf varieties, most
of which will only grow 10 feet tall, Van Ommeren has truly leveraged
the space in his 40-foot by 50-foot city lot. Heís expanded his
efforts to the front yard, converting the tree line with spiraea,
pachysandra, burning bush and a Mugo pine.
Varieties of dwarf conifers found in Van Ommerenís garden include
Alberta spruce, bristlecone pine and a "Little Gem" juniper
that was grafted onto a standard conifer. Pachysandra is utilized as a
ground cover; sedums, purple coneflowers and other perennials add
color. A clematis grows skyward on a trellis. The papery bark of a
river birch, viburnums and ornamental grasses provide four-season
interest. Youíll know itís spring when the Japanese lilac and star
magnolia begin to bloom.
lounges sit side-by-side under a canvas umbrella, inviting
visitors to stop and enjoy the view. The slate patio provides a
good contrast to all the greenery. Van Ommeren fenced in his
yard to provide a bit of privacy and to frame the space. With
the approval of his neighbors, he installed chicken wire along
the exterior of the wooden fence to keep the rabbits at bay.
employs potscaping to force shots of color among the various
hues of green. Tropicals like cannas reflect this retired
psychiatric nurseís Dutch and Indonesian ancestry. The foxtail
spruce appears to have gotten a little out of hand. The
30-foot-tall conifer tucked in the corner of the back yard was
only supposed to grow to 10 feet. Van Ommeren designed the
limestone steps leading to the upper backyard and garden.