Homes Magazine - Page 33 - Living History (2)

Homes Magazine
- Page 33
Living History (2)
Chuck and Amy Newhall’s gardens are a place to lose oneself.

The pristine landscape that surrounds their Baltimore County home is lush and leafy, with hues of green stretching from large lawns and ground-hugging plants to trees that seem to kiss the clouds.

Dubbed Brightside Gardens, the four and a half acres include 54 neoclassical-themed and deeply personal garden rooms infused with symbolism and mythology, thoughts and emotion, life and death. They speak to the couple’s life journey, challenges and joys.

“It is an emblem book garden, a garden of our lives,” says Charles “Chuck” Newhall III, a classicist and venture capitalist who walks the garden twice daily. “We’ve turned tragedy into beauty. It has deep meaning for me.”

Over more than three decades, Chuck, 73, and Amy, 68, renovated and expanded their painted white brick house to 10,000 square feet and transformed its setting. Brightside is filled with unusual specimens like the Flying Dragon orange tree, familiar bushes like traditional boxwoods and native plants like wild ginger.

Hundreds of evergreen varieties provide form and year-round color. A full-time groundskeeper, Oscar Noguera, maintains the gardens.

They’re “Chuck’s baby,” Amy says. While she focused on plant color, texture and bloom time, Chuck took the lead on everything from layout and design to statuaries and plaques. It was over a whiskey that he conceived of the idea to “to build Lothlorien forest” from “The Lord of the Rings.” (A bronze mask of Treebeard makes an appearance at Brightside.)

But his wife is his main inspiration.

“Amy is my muse. Amy is the heart of our garden,” he says.

Chuck was a widower, and she brought him and his young family a new life. In the gardens, that’s symbolized by the sunny Pools of Eros “room,” where water from an antique fountain of the Greek god of love spills into pools graced with water lilies.

It’s hard to imagine now that this property, where the Newhalls have hosted events for organizations like the Baltimore Museum of Art (Chuck is a former chairman), and where garden club leaders from around the country have visited, once housed small lawns and encroaching trees.