With a Memorial Day weekend that rained 24/7 I had long hours to sit by the fire and re-read some of my cherished garden books. The perspectives that I picked up among those pages inspired today’s blog. One that resonated, through many different voices, was a universal truth expressed without irony by Allan Armitage (renowned horticulturalist), “Gardening simply does not allow one to be mentally old because too many hopes and dreams are yet to be realized.” So as we step into this promising new summer, I wanted to pass along other gardeners’ wisdom and unique takes on gardening.
1. Gertrude Jekyll…the garden should fit its owner, his or her tastes, just as one’s clothes do; it should be neither too large nor too small, but just comfortable.
2. Rosemary Verey…when you’re exploring a garden, always remember to turn around and look the other way to get another perspective.
3. Audrey Hepburn…to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.
4. Prince Charles…long shadows cast by avenues and hedges in the winter are…an essential rewarding feature of a garden set in its landscape.
5. Jacques Wirtz…if you have the opportunity to make a bold stroke, you have to do it!
6. Deborah Nevins…well-articulated spaces encourage intimacy between people and the landscape.
7. Sir Roy Strong…never cease to be brave…even if you are entering your seventieth year. Innovation is still possible…go out in a blaze of madness.
8. Charlotte Moss…I believe that flowers have so much more to say and teach us after they’ve reached their prime. (Hmm, might that be said as well for many of us reading this post?)
10. Bunny Williams…too often a perennial border is equated with a garden; that’s comparable to mistaking a couch for a room. Think about the room first, and then decide how you will furnish it; embrace the importance of a garden’s entire design—this includes style, hardscaping, containers, ornaments, furniture. Not just the plantings.
11. Percy Cane (as told to Rosemary Verey)…you should always make the longest possible distance into your most important vista and give it an interesting focal point.
12. Oscar de la Renta…gardening is the work of a lifetime you never finish.
13. Harold Peto…old buildings (or fragments of) recall the past in a way that a garden of only flowers cannot. For the highest development of beauty, a garden must be a combination of architecture and plants in “just proportion.”
14. And, lastly, from yours truly…cherish a “borrowed” view and incorporate it into your garden’s design (all the more exciting if it’s not your property).
Happy Summer 2021 to you…and your friends, with whom you can now gather!