Rebecca and Drew Krimski's 1920s Georgian home in Guilford has an incredible pedigree—from the limestone steps culled from the same quarry as President Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, to the exterior that replicates Talbot County's historic Ratcliffe Manor, to the circa 1740 hardwood floors transplanted from Baltimore's first theater.
So why was it, when the couple moved in 13 years ago, Rebecca promptly burst into tears? Quite simply, she was overwhelmed by the enormity of it all.
"This was a huge step for us," says Krimski, who's now able to laugh at the memory. "The house was so beautiful, but it hadn't had any work done in so long either inside or outside. Our little bit of furniture filled about a tenth of the house. That first day, I was crying, 'What have we done?'"
Krimski quickly dried her eyes and set to restore the home to its rightful grandeur. For help with the overgrown gardens, she turned to Bob Jackson Landscapes.
"I like very neat, manicured looking plants with one plant on this side and one plant on that side," says Krimski, a former Ford model who now does web design for Drew's IT company, The ACI Group. "But Bob is very much the opposite—he likes free flowing, so it was interesting for us to work together."
Their disparate visions have yielded the perfect artistic blend of formal and informal. To date, the garden consists of three distinct outdoor areas. The first is a large covered patio area and elegant terrace paved in historic brick that looks onto a manicured lawn rife with climbing hydrangea, rhododendron, and potted plants. The middle garden features a profusion of pink Knock Out roses, bluestone chip paths, an iron gate, and a fragrant sweetbay magnolia tree delicately drooping over a whimsical fountain. The last garden, a kitchen garden, includes a potting bench and an herb garden with oregano, rosemary, lavender, and mint.
An avid nature lover, Krimski learned to garden alongside her beloved grandfather, who lived on Hart-Miller Island. "He had a small nursery there, and I remember going to his house and being enchanted by all the plants he had in the yard," she says. "It was so packed, he hardly had any grass, and I was mesmerized by it."
These days, Krimski is under the spell of her own garden. "Sometimes I'll be sitting in my dining room and just stare out the window," she says. "I see the overall picture but then I study the details, the petals of the flowers, the little things."
Krimski has also become more carefree in her approach to gardening. "I always wanted everything to be so amazingly perfect and immaculate, but that's not what it's about—it's about things evolving and changing," she says. "I've learned that a garden is never perfect. Years ago, I would have said that this rhododendron is out of control," she says pointing to the plant off the terrace. "Now it's like, 'It's a little leggy, but it's beautiful.' You have to go with nature and be free with it."