Hearty Pink Mandevillas

A vigorous mandevilla vine produces ruffled crimson flowers all summer long.

Espalier Garden

The garden is made up of a number of gracefully defined “rooms.” Trained apple trees sketch boundaries of this espalier garden. Red cushions on the benches add vibrant color to the lush garden.

Work in Progress

The pots on the shelves show John’s work on container plantings in the ever-evolving garden.

Bright Amaryllis

A bright red amaryllis proves irresistible to a butterfly.

Entry Bridge

A stone lion guards the approach to the tower.

Picturesque Library

Old-fashioned flowers make a colorful living quilt at the edge of the library.

Colorful Shelves

John’s gardening books are right at hand in the garden’s little library building.

Wheel-Like Window

Birdcages and other collectibles add interest to the library.

On the Wing

A butterfly alights on the grille of John’s vintage car.

Lush Hostas Behind the Library

The shady area behind the library is an ideal spot for growing hostas.

Courtyard “Living Room”

Enclosed on all sides, this area is furnished like a gracious living room. “I don’t know of any garden that is interesting without some sort of structure,” John says. “Within that, you can be as free as you want, but it takes some sort of structure to balance the freedom.”

Espaliered apple trees add structure.

Courtyard Cabana

The cabana contributes to the festive atmosphere of the courtyard.

Cascading Succulents

Succulents add texture and pattern.

Courtyard Sitting Area

The symmetry of the twin chairs flanking the table gives a hint of order. 

Gypsy Wagon Guesthouse

Who wouldn’t love to stay in this charming little gypsy wagon fitted out as a guesthouse?

Gypsy wagon: Ozark Wagon Sales Co., 877/785-8469, ozarkwagonsalescompany.com.

Gerbera Daisies

A pot of Gerbera daisies smiles in the sunlight on the wagon’s porch.

Designer and His Dog

John Rufenacht keeps his ’53 MG at Evening Place. Waldo, his schnauzer, often hops in for a ride.  

Fit for a King

Crowns on the lions bring a smile.

Lending a Hand

Attention to details like this one makes the garden stylish at every turn.

Seeing Red

Shades of scarlet, crimson, and other reds are repeated throughout the garden.

E-Place

John’s license plate refers to the name of his getaway, “Evening Place.”

Pretty Pergola

Terra cotta pots at varying levels give this entry area an almost Tuscan feel.

Classic Statuary

Statuary throughout the garden nods to its underlying classicism.

Hanging Lanterns

Lanterns hung unusually low are charmingly unexpected.

White Hydrangea

White flowers help to tone down the exuberant floral palette.

Stone Chapel

The stone chapel has an air of serenity.

Wagon Wheel

Rusticity befits this rural hideaway.

Firefighter

John’s lively sense of humor is reflected in the treasures that dot the grounds.

Garden Details

Location: Clinton, Missouri, a 19th-century town in western Missouri.

Conditions: Situated in a clearing in the woods in Zone 6, the garden has heavy clay soil that has been amended with lots of compost. Summers are hot and steamy; winters are cold but not bitter.

Highlights: Boldly colored perennials, a rich tapestry of shade-loving plants, and a bright red gypsy wagon/guesthouse provide many eye-catching features.

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Garden With Color and Flair

A designer brings his sense of style to the garden

Written and produced by Marty Ross
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Colorful Shelves

John’s gardening books are right at hand in the garden’s little library building.

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