It's garden tour season again!
A few weeks ago we went on a tour that took us in to the backyards of some million dollar homes. Here were gardeners who had extensive funds, professional designers, and a team of landscape prefessionals for regular maintenance all available to them. I was prepared to be amazed. Instead, I headed home profoundly disappointed.
Frankly, the design of these gardens seemed slick and a bit self-concscious. If I can make an analogy, it rather like a homeowner who sent their interior designer to a single store and directed them to buy all the best furniture that store had on offer. Sure the decorated rooms would contain only the best, but there would be be nothing collected over the years, nothing personal, or for that matter unique.
This past weekend, I dragged my poor husband along on yet another tour. A few of the gardens on this second tour were terrific.
So, here is the question I have been mulling over in my mind ever since: What makes a garden great?
I think number one on my list of assets would have to be creativity. I don't know about you, but I really appreciate when a garden is original and imaginative.
Next on my list of attributes would be a great design/layout. This is where I think so many gardens fall a bit short.
What is my number one design pet peeve? It is what I will coin "fringe thinking". In a typical garden of this kind, the garden is a thin ribbon around the perimeter of the yard and the lawn is the black hole in the middle. If I can make another analogy, it is the equivalent of taking a room and pushing all the furniture up against the wall.
The boundry between garden and lawn is usually a precise line of edging. My own garden is like this at the moment. In the future, I would like to blur the edge of the "garden" and create a more unified, seamless space.
The third characteristic on my list of what makes a great garden would be creative use of plant materials. It is wonderful when a gardener mixes leaf textures and colors to create a rich and varied tapestry.
Does a great garden need lots of flowers?
Flowers can actually hog the stage and overshadow the supporting players. Still, nothing can take your breath away like a beautiful bloom!
I just love when a garden speaks to the personality of the gardener who created it.
What inspires you?
What do you think makes a garden great?