I love visiting your blogs online and seeing your gardens through your eyes.
It has been one of the unexpected joys of garden blogging.
Sometimes I get to visit the real garden, and moving from what I know about your garden virtually to what the real garden looks like is quite an experience.
I have followed Margaret Roach at A Way to Garden for years, as many of you have. This past weekend Jim and I got to see her garden during the Open Conservancy Day held on May 12.
It was a gloriously bright bluebird day, dry, cool and sunny. How do you order up these kinds of conditions when you are expecting company? I want to know.
Her garden immediately surprised me with its intimacy.
I have followed her blog for years and thought her winterhazel (Corylopsis spicata) was out in a field, far away. It is steps from her door, and overtakes the walk up from the drive into her front yard.
Her cutting garden and vegetable raised beds border the roadside, only feet away from the road.
She has a neighbor right next door.
All of her well photographed spaces --- the frog pond, the outbuildings, the spicebush at the end of a small woodland opening, are just steps from her door.
Intimate. You just don't get the closeness of the surroundings from a blog.
And you don't get depth of space.
The steepness of her property is challenging. Her two and a third acres go straight up from the house, opening from the closeness of densely jumbled plantings, porches, containers, and stonework all around the house to a sweep of open grass and large trees way upslope.
And here's the thing. Her gardens as shown on her blog are so perfect, so well designed, so photographically pristine, that I could never achieve anything close.
Not gonna happen on my half acre.
But when we arrived on a beautiful day in May, the mulch was in a pile and only partially spread. There were weeds. Some plants needed tending. A lot needed pruning. The human spaces --- walks and paths and openings --- were already overtaken by foliage.
Its beauty is that it is a garden evolving in the season.
It was all so natural --- beautifully built but not fussy.
It's a mature garden, over 25 years old, and it is a garden that is
still adding plants, losing plants and changing. Newly opened earth on
the slope showed where some plants had been lost, dug up and removed.
Her bottlebrush buckeyes, big giant things, had cracked apart in storms and the corylopsis lost branches last year. In an established garden with so much going on and such large trees and shrubs, these losses fit in with the evolving landscape and it all works.
I loved seeing the real thing in person.