Virtual Tour of a Garden Oasis


Sandra Lange in her Greenbelt garden

The latest of the Virtual Summer Garden Tours we’re assembling instead of holding in-person tours is the cool oasis created by the talented gardener Sandra Lange.

Luckily for us, Sandra’s son David Barnes is a professional videographer and was available to work with her to create a PBS-quality tour, with Sandra providing the narration. It’s embedded below. But first, an introduction.

About the Gardener

Sandra did not have a garden until she moved to Greenbelt in 1966 when she discovered her love for the natural world and her proximity to Behnke’s Nursery. Over the years, she visited many gardens, including several in Japan and China. She attended flower shows—Floriade in the Netherlands, Chelsea in London and, of course, Philadelphia.

Over the past 50 years, she and her gardening buddy, Mary Lou Williamson, toured many gardens and nurseries throughout Washington, Virginia and Delaware, and shopped plant sales near and far.  Inspiration for her own garden has been influenced by her travels, gardening publications and programs, as well as by meeting many dedicated gardeners.

About the Garden

The primary focus of Sandra’s garden is her pond. She and her husband David moved into their present home in 2003. In 2005, they engaged Meadows Farms to design a free-form, irregularly shaped 12′ x 18′ pond with two waterfalls that cascade into stream beds that flow into the main pond. Weathered limestone rocks of various sizes and shapes surround the pond. There also is an 11 x 17 foot shaded flagstone patio and walkways.

Sandra planted a variety of trees and shrubs—Zelkova, Japanese maples, Chinese fringe tree, Heptacodium (Seven Son), Chaste trees, Japanese willow, viburnums, oak leaf hydrangeas, camillias, all of which have matured over the past 15 years. She has a collection of peonies, including four Itohs, an edgeworthia (paper bush), varigated deutzia. There are many varieties of ferns, astilbe, azaleas, hostas. A Japanese style arbor frames the entrance to the garden. A collection of pots feature banana plants, amorphophalllus lillies (corpse flower), pineapple lilies, hibiscus.

The pond is host to burgundy colocasias, deep red irises, acorus, ginger and lotus plants, three koi, frogs and an occasional black snake.

The lawn was eliminated several years ago and replanted with Japanese ferns, variegated liriope, brunnera and epimedium.  The entire yard is surrounded by white and red oaks and hollies that transport one into a lush and peaceful environment.

Now Watch!


  1. Lovely and peaceful. Thank you, Sandra and Susan for the wonderful tour. I didn’t get a sense of how large the garden is.–Is it on an acre or is it a suburban lot? Thank you, again.

  2. It is a typical suburban lot–maybe 1/4 acre and pie-shaped. It abuts Greenbelt Lake Park (Buddy Attick Park} in the back where the pond garden is located.

  3. Good Lord, 1/4 acre city lot?! Incredible! And not one but two waterfalls?! So jealous I could spit! Her property is what I want my property to be when it grows up! Parenthetically, I was sorry to read of the closing of Behnke’s (in the linked article). Even though I never visited it, I understand the sensibility of the owners, having lived in Germany. If we had more of that aesthetic and sense of stewardship in this country, Scott’s wouldn’t stand a chance.


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