The Gardens of Greystone bring life to this home. They are the base and the balance. The shade, the color and the fragrance. They soften the light that filters through to the porches in the afternoon. They rise up in the springtime and entertain on through the winter. They are the first to greet visitors. The last to say goodbye. They are the inspiration of Juliette Reidy.
Juliette was born in Vietnam and lived most of her life overseas with her husband, businessman Frank Reidy. When they moved back to the states and to Greystone in 1986, she found the house imposing, with more projects than hours. She mostly watched the garden for the first 10 years, unsure that they would stay, and busy with three boys to raise. By the mid-nineties, the family decided to make Greystone home, and Juliette switched gears.
She joined the Norfolk Botanical Garden and took a course in landscaping through George Washington University. As part of the course, Juliette was required to design the garden for her own house and when finished she sought the talent to help her with the extensive renovation required to bring it to life. C. Douglas Aurand, a landscape architect, provided the hardscape design, stonework, walkways, fountains, irrigation and drainage. Smithfield Gardens was retained to help with plant selection and to provide the different soils for the various varieties.
The entrance to the garden, next to the front door of Greystone is a favorite of Juliette's. A trellis with a young climbing rose "New Dawn" and clematis provides the visual invitation. In the distance, at the end of the pathway that works its way down to the water, a strand of spartan junipers rise straight and tall. Along the way are a variety of plants chosen for their color and fragrance: a garden of roses, gardenia, jasmine and a saucer magnolia.
Halfway down this path, the garden opens to the Southern elevation of the courtyard beneath the porches that wrap from the front door. At the far end a large and gracious magnolia shades the house. It is the centerpiece. Here the yard steps down from the porches to the water landing, small beach and oyster reef built by her oldest son James. Here the garden reveals its more formal nature with a mixture of colorful annuals and perennials, spiraling dwarf Alberto spruce, hyacinths, hollies, nicco blue hydrangeas and azaleas that line the foundation of the house.
The western exposure that turns from the magnolia winding along the paths to the western deck wing of Greystone is less formal with woodland plantings that are both functional and beautiful. Beneath the deck, built around a huge red oak are spurge, lily of the valley, primrose and Lenten roses.
An inviting patch of manicured grass next to the herb and vegetable garden sits in full sun along the bulkhead. To the North side of the house is the cutting garden filled with color during the warmer seasons. Here also is the architectural carport Aurand designed to blend seamlessly with the house.
The gated circular drive is flanked by the house and the more mature and sculpted existing shrubs on one side and a pond with two cascading waterfalls on the other. Two dwarf weeping Japanese maples, a persimmon tree, tree peonies and more anchor this area.