Thoughts on Wild Beauty …

June 20th, 2011 § 3 comments § permalink

Prince Pickerel on the Secret Garden Water Bowl

I’ve worked in many kinds of gardens: clipped, controlled and formal; sprawling, loose and informal. And it’s fair to say that I delight in landscape design of all kinds. Still, I find that my favorite gardens tend to walk the line between wild and tame. Too much order leaves little room for natural surprises. Tightly maintained gardens often lack mystery and magic. A bit of benign neglect can offer a world of wonder; room for nature to flourish. Let the reigns fall too loose, however, and the garden will disappear altogether. Balance is the key. I like to garden in harmony with nature. Thinking of my work as a dialogue, I always try to listen a bit more than I talk.

What grows in the area surrounding your garden? Are you settled into a woodland, a meadow, a seaside dune? What is nature saying to you? What can you add to the conversation?

I paint the gardens in my care with structure and then allow nature to take a blender brush to the boundaries, blurring the edges. Ferns tumble, vines ramble, and wildflower seeds self-sow with abandon. The look I love is loose and relaxed, but soothing as opposed to chaotic.

Rambling Roses and Juniper Sprawl along the Ledge in my Entry Garden. This rose has travelled with me through three moves. It came from an old foundation in back of my childhood home. The cultivar? I haven’t a clue. In this case, a rose is a rose is a rose. The look is wild and the smell is sweet.

I’m happy to live with a few minor imperfections in my garden. When it comes to natural beauty, perfection is imperfection. The bee on this rose seems to agree…

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