When thinking ahead to retirement, Cal and Rosemary Pipal knew they wanted to leave Minnesota's long, cold winters and decided the Rogue Valley was the place. After a few years in Grants Pass, the couple heard about an opportunity in the hills above Central Point. "There were just eight lots available, all of them 20 acres apiece. When we first saw the leveled lot with this view, we knew we'd found the right spot," Cal says.
And the right spot it is. The Pipals' "homestead" features a 180-degree view, from Mt. McLoughlin across the valley to Dutchman's Peak, just a hair north of the California border. Their spectacular garden starts along the driveway leading up to the house, which is dotted along both sides with tree roses, perennials and a variety of trees. At the top, the drive circles around a garden anchored by birch trees and skirted with a vibrant array of roses, pansies and purple verbena.
The Rogue Valley and its surrounding mountains frame the home's stunning entrance, which features Japanese flowering cherries on either side of the front porch underplanted with columbine, peonies, and bearded iris. When you enter, a view of the natural swimming pool and adjacent pond and waterfall accented with lush flowers and shrubs can be seen through a large view window.
The Pipals were able to build their custom home and develop the garden simultaneously, but they needed help. They hired Medford landscape architect John Galbraith to "lay out the bones of the garden and design the pool and adjacent pond," Cal explains. An arbor was built over the koi pond five years ago to protect the fish from herons and osprey. Other features include rock retaining walls around the garden's flower beds and down one hillside, a long bank of cotoneaster which flowers in spring and summer and displays red berries in the fall.
Much of the Pipal's 20 acres remains in its natural state, with pines, oak, madrones and grasses. The Pipals wisely installed fencing around the perimeter of the property used for the house and garden to keep out deer.
Rosemary knew she wanted roses in the garden, so she planted those first. Today, there are 146 roses throughout the property, with most of them fragrant. "The ones without a scent I've used for their color," she explains. Most varieties of roses can be found throughout the garden, including climbers, trees, floribundas, grandifloras, medallions, and David Austin roses. Such a sophisticated and vast garden reflects the work of a longtime gardener, but Rosemary claims that her love of gardening only started since the couple built this house. "When we lived in Minnesota, I was working full-time and besides, the winters are so severe that you're limited in what you can grow," she explains.
Annuals and perennials were added after the roses, followed by lilacs, rhodies, viburnum, dianthus, poppies and flowering trees. Later still, a small orchard was planted with apple, pear, peach, cherry and plum trees. "Several were dwarf trees, but they've grown much bigger than they were supposed to," Cal says.
All things considered, the Pipals have ended up with much more than they bargained for. "We had one acre of property in Minnesota, and thought that we'd downsize when we retired," Cal says with a smile. Instead, the couple have 20 acres of paradise in the Central Point hills. "And we're not going to give up this place until we have to," he adds.