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American Society of Landscape Architects


August 2006 Issue

Gardening on the Forest Floor
Plantings showcase a home nestled in the forest.

By Anne Raver

Gardening on the Forest Floor Cole Burrell

WHEN C. Colston Burrell and his partner of 20 years, Bruce Ellsworth, first saw the house—all cypress and glass—tucked into a wooded slope in the Blue Ridge Mountains, they made an offer without even walking in the door.

That’s how seductive the landscape is: Virginia pine and hickory, tulip poplar, black birch, and hop hornbeam rolling down to a stream at the bottom of a grassy ravine.

“To drive over a creek to get home is pretty good,” says Burrell, 49, an ecologist and a garden designer who is known as Cole, recalling his first impression of the place. After eight years, he says, that feeling has only deepened.

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