|My tour guide|
Yesterday I took a tour of my friend Jane's garden, and I thoroughly enjoyed how very different it is from mine. She gardens on very steep slopes, under the twisted architecture of gnarly crabapple relics, surrounded by tall shady pines.
Her garden tumbles and wanders. Plants mingle and grab each others' spaces. They pop up in unexpected places. Nothing is edged or neat or trimmed. Tag sale finds, urns, pots and benches are hidden everywhere. Statues and goofy things lurk in the foliage. Stuff invades.
|I don't see any weeds. Do you see weeds?|
And, as any gardener giving a tour will do, Jane apologized at every turn, explaining that weeding had gotten away from her, mowing had been abandoned, things were escaping, and the whole design in general had been co-opted by the willfulness of her plants. Oh, what's that doing there? I didn't plant it.
She's an avid plantswoman and clearly loves her garden, so I asked her "what do you like about it? What gives you pleasure out here?"
Without missing a beat, she said "the surprises". Yes.
This garden delights Jane when she walks about. The hidden stuff always offers an "aha" as a little statue reveals itself behind a shrub, or a hint of a glass ball glistens like a giant soap bubble among the hostas. A funny bird sculpture in the distance catches the eye.
The contours of her acreage offer mystery as the land turns, follows a path, runs downhill or disappears into the deep shade under the spreading arms of a crabapple. Far below, toward an unseen river gorge, a humongous upturned willow tree rests with its roots in the air. Jane says they will not remove the dead tree; it is part of the wildness of this place, and kind of an interesting sculpture all on its own.
And the willful behavior of her plants delights her too. There are always surprises as weeds and perennials mix it up, and things show up that shouldn't, or move, or spread in an unexpected way.
|She built this area, hauling buckets of pea gravel by hand. Houttuynia creeps, but hasn't overtaken.|
|A long wall (actually a chipmunk condo) tames an unmowed grassy hillside|
|She built this pond that tumbles downslope. Frogs abound while turtles spy.|
|Everywhere there are treasures, even a simple pot in a shady nook|
|She didn't plant this. It just appeared.|
|A happy combination. The gardener takes credit.|
|Ninebark and Ogon spirea in a great color combo.|
|Another great plant combo |
What is it that you like best about your garden?