May 14, 2012

A Bluebird Day

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.

 

22 comments:

  1. It does One's heart good to see a garden we feel like we know. It holds so many surprises. What fun. Thanks for taking us along.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa, I really did feel that I "knew" her garden, but it was surprising to get the feel for the real thing.

      Delete
  2. Last year I attended one of her book signings at Tower Hill. She was funny and entertaining. Visiting gardens is always such a pleasure but difficult for me to do in the spring. I'll have to keep an eye on the schedule and try to visit next time she opens. Love to hear that she keeps it real and doesn't hire a crew to spiff up for garden tours. Thanks for the tour!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sue, That was exactly my point --- that she keeps it real and doesn't hire a crew to make it all perfect, although she certainly has the resources to do that. By choice, her garden is loose and natural and evolving.

      Delete
  3. I love her blog as well, and have followed it since the beginning. I am always amazed (as you were) how different gardens look in realy life, how much smaller they seem. I remember when I first went to Sissinghurt, I was so surprised. Love that you got to see the 'real' thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deborah, it is an odd experience to go from what you think you know to actually seeing the well-known space!

      Delete
  4. I'm not familiar with her blog but will check it out. Her gardens are so lush and intimate feeling. It seems that would be a difficult thing to do with 2+ acres. You're right about getting to see a blogging friend's garden in person...it makes all the difference in the world. Photos don't always convey the 'feel' of a garden and the owner's personality doesn't always show through like on a personal visit. I'm headed over to Pam's (Digging)garden this week and I'm so anxious to see it again. I'll share a post too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cat, Have a great visit at Pam's and I'll look forward to your post on how her garden feels in real life.

      Delete
  5. I haven't visited that blog but wish I knew about it before your post! lol Her garden looks lovely and I'll have to look at her blog.

    I'd need to crew to get the whole of my garden into perfect shape for a tour but to hell with that, unless the crew really knew what they were doing they'd probably pull some of my most prized plants.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sweetbay, it's a fantasy to think that a hired crew in the garden could make it look like you really want, or could even recognize your treasures!

      Delete
  6. Looks like you had a lovely day Laurrie - it's my opinion you never really know a garden through photos, or even a visit or two. It's wonderful to have our own special places we get to know over time and seasons, in a way no visitor can.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cyndy, a garden is such a changeable place that one or two visits only capture that moment at that time of the season. Margaret Roach's garden will be open two more times this summer fortunately.

      Delete
  7. Excellent point, Laurrie; nothing like the real thing; images are only representations. You clearly enjoy getting out there. Good for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lee, I do enjoy getting out there, and seeing her garden was lovely. But the real highlight was the absolutely perfect weather. Such a gorgeous day!

      Delete
  8. What a treat to see her garden, Laurrie. There is nothing like experiencing a garden in person!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer, it was a great visit, and now when I read her blog and see her photos, it's with a whole different understanding.

      Delete
  9. It is so hard to get a sense of space with still photos. I am one gardener who is very glad to hear that perfection is desired but not always attained especially this early in the season. The hand of the gardener should always be visible. It is a treat to see a garden in person after years of blog photos. Come visit won't you? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Layanee, I like the thought that the hand of the gardener should be visible. It does add to a garden to see the work going on in it. I would love to visit, you are not very far away!

      Delete
  10. I'm not familiar with her blog either but really wish I could meet the bloggers I follow and see their gardens. There should be a special plane fare for such a cool trip!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tammy, I agree! Blogging introduces us to so many great places that would be nice to see in person.

      Delete
  11. Lucky you. I would love to see her garden. It is really a treat to visit a garden you've been following online. I've only gotten to meet up with one other garden blogger but it was so great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gardener on Sherlock, This is only the second garden I have seen that I saw first on a blog, and it really was a treat.

      Delete

Sorry about requiring code verification -- I experimented with turning it off to make commenting easier, and I got too much spam. Thanks for taking the time to comment, and to type in silly codes. I appreciate hearing from you.