May 21, 2013

This Doesn't Happen Very Often

Last week we drove north to Massachusetts to visit one of our favorite places, the Berkshire Botanical Garden. We had lunch in town in Stockbridge, then drove out to the garden for a short walk around. It was colder than we dressed for.

Greening mountains in the background, a field of dandelions in the lawn, and flowering crabapples everywhere. Just add in some chilly temperatures and you have spring in the Berkshire Mountains.



A potting shed with living sedum roof and raw timber posts would, of course, be perfect for my needs.

Shades of pink and white are everywhere in early spring.






















It is a small botanical garden and can be walked in an hour, even with lingering. There are educational areas, plant sale areas, a tropical hothouse, several beautifully designed perennial borders, an inventive children's garden, a tidy vegetable demonstration garden, all packed in 15 acres.

But we visit just for the views like this one.

I usually come back from a visit to a mature and elegant public garden all pumped up with ideas for my own garden, which quickly turns to deflation as I look around my yard and see so much to do, so many immature and dinky plants, and little cohesive design.

But last week something different happened. We arrived back home from the Berkshires late in the afternoon and the light on this cold May day was still pretty.

I looked around, took a walk in the yard and out into the paths Jim has mowed in the meadow, and I thought . . .

. . . this is just as nice.

My own garden is immensely pleasing in its own smaller scale and relative immaturity. I like it all, even on the same day I saw an established and professionally cared for garden.

I do not have pink and white clouds of flowering crabapples, but there are pinks and whites in my garden to be seen.

It's not that my own garden looks anything like the botanical garden or could rival it in any way. It was simply that it felt as nice. What I saw as I walked around really pleased me in just the same way I had felt at the Berkshire Botanical Garden.

That doesn't happen very often.


46 comments:

  1. Isn't that the truth. I am glad to hear you are pleased with your garden. It is a beauty in it's own right. I understand your frustration though. We tend to look at our own garden so critically. Seeing what needs to be done rather than what has been done. I am glad you took off the critical mask and saw your garden through a beautiful perspective.

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    1. Lisa, it's rare, but so rewarding to come home and like what you see!

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  2. I had a similar feeling after coming home from seeing so many beautiful gardens in Asheville last year. It's so easy to be critical of our own gardens, seeing our mistakes or jobs to be done. But I realized last year that my garden doesn't have to fit anyone else's formula, as long as it makes me happy. The views at the Berkshire garden are stunning, but your garden is just as lovely, Laurrie. I'm glad you saw through others' eyes.

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    1. Rose, it's a wonderful thing that you could come back from Asheville and know that your own place suits you perfectly.

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  3. What a great feeling - no more Other People's Gardens Envy. From your pictures, I would agree: your garden is just as nice. And how quickly it has greened up and bloomed after that long dreary east coast winter!

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    1. Sarah, thank you -- it seemed like spring would never arrive, but it did just in time and everything is greening up nicely now (and it's 85 degrees here today, yikes what a change)

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  4. I've always fallen back on the "that garden isn't better than mine, just different". Most of us don't have the time, money, or resources to devote to create something as awesome as that Botanical garden, I'm glad you could make peace with your own garden and love it for what it is.

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    1. El Gaucho, I need to always keep in mind that the botanical gardens I see have staff and money and resources that my little space never will. That's another way to make peace with it.

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  5. What a great feeling! And YOU made this garden, which makes that feeling even better. From what I've seen of it in your pictures, you do have a beautiful garden. Not just nice. Beautiful.

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    1. Alison, thank yo so much! And you are right, it's my own creation and that pleases me the most.

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  6. What a great feeling! I usually come home and only see weeds, but I think you touched on something important - the feeling. I think it's the feeling of a place, not the style or type of flowers, but whether one can feel relaxed that is most important in a garden.

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    1. Holley, that is what I wanted to express -- the feeling is what struck me, not the plant selection or design. You hit it exactly right.

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  7. Your garden is lovely - and it's yours! Isn't that why we all garden - to have our OWN place to enjoy anytime we like?

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    1. Beth, yes, it is the good feeling that I did this myself that is so pleasing and makes me like my own garden!

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  8. I think your garden is stunning, so of course it feels just as nice! And wow, that little foot bridge is looking SO good.

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    1. Heather, thanks! It does feel nice to me. Surprisingly, I use the little foot bridge all the time, rolling wheelbarrows over it, walking across it to get to the meadow and the trees behind on the back hill. I put it in for decoration but it is a main route to the back now and well travelled.

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  9. I've never been to the Berkshire Botanical Garden and even though it looks lovely I suspect I would likely prefer yours. Small, residential gardens that have been designed and maintained by plantaholic home owners are so interesting and enjoyable to visit. They posess that personal touch you don't find in public gardens no matter how well designed or maintained they can be.

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    1. Sue, I agree, although the Berkshire garden is small and intimate enough to feel like someone's home, and in fact the two main buildings are old Cape Cod houses. But an individual space designed by an avid amateur is wonderful to visit. I think I would be enchanted with yours!

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  10. Hi Laurrie...botanical gardens are nice to visit, but I think your garden is just beautiful and it's real. What I mean by that is that YOU take care of it, not a crew of grounds keepers and professional gardeners. It's a real gardener's garden and it's made from hard work, sweat and probably (if you're like me), a few tears. I think sometimes we all feel that our garden isn't adequate, but maybe that's because we see it everyday. When I leave and then come back, I'm always amazed by my garden....it's me!!! I really appreciate your garden!

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    1. Christy, I like how you describe a private garden as REAL. That is it, exactly! Real, and personal, and invested with personality.

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  11. It's good to give yourself some well-deserved credit. Many gardeners (and cooks, I've noticed) suffer from an excess of modesty, emphasizing the negative and discounting the positive. This tends to undermine our ability to enjoy our gardens. I love your Tiarella and pink dogwood!

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    1. Jason, we all need to step back sometimes and see the fine things we've created!

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  12. I think it should happen more often, Laurrie! When I saw your photos of the garden you visited, I actually thought: Laurrie's garden is as lovely as that, just not as big - and then I saw that you wrote the same thing.

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    1. Lyn, you are so sweet to compare my garden to the one I featured. Thanks!

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  13. That feeling is what matters. I have visited many residential gardens that while not as IMPRESSIVE as many of the public gardens, have a lot more feeling. Maybe its that Zen in the Art of Motorcycle thing about Quality being from work done by focused attention.

    That as opposed to paid employees that don't always put the same amount of themselves into their work as a gardener does working in their own yard.

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    1. Jim, yes, it is the personal expression and the investment of so much time that creates a real difference -- one that others can even appreciate when they see it.

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  14. It should happen more often to all of us. We compare our gardens the way we compare so many other things. Gardening shouldn't be competitive. It's a piece of us and we are fine just the way we are. :o) (Unless someone is a psychotic nut job. Then they're not fine at all.) I just had to clarify my generalization. :o)

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    1. Tammy, our gardens should not compete, but I do look at others and at public gardens for inspiration. It's nice to be inspired by our own spaces too. Even nut jobs have a few inspirational ideas to copy!

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  15. I think you are awesome! And you are so right! Your garden is just as beautiful with your gorgeous blooms and outstanding combinations! There is something to be said about admiring all of the hard work we put into our gardens. Too often we look at what is not there and how it is not finished. Thank you for inspiring me to enjoy the moment!

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    1. Nicole, I do hope you are inspired to enjoy the moment in your own garden -- it would be great if that was the takeaway from this post : )

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  16. While the Berkshire gardens has some lovely attractions it can not compare to your own home sweet home.

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  17. This is the perfect way to feel about your own garden :) Sometimes we have to step away to see it anew! And you're right, it is gorgeous.

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    1. Rosemary, we do need to step away, then come back to appreciate what we have.

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  18. Nice gardens I will have to note as they are but about 3 hours away...and your gardens are even lovelier.

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    1. Donna, thank you. You would enjoy the Berkshire garden, and the drive there is pretty too.

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  19. Laurrie,
    your own garden is perfect, it reflects your views on gardening and your comfort. And you feel yourself nice in your garden. I love the place with garden furniture, gravel, plants around. Red-leaved tree, many flowers. It's great!

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    1. Nadezda, thanks so much. I do enjoy my place and it gives me a lot of pleasure.

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  20. Nice feeling!
    I sometimes think that the benefit of going away from my garden is that when I get back, I appreciate it even more.

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    1. Acair Fearann, that's exactly why travel is a good thing. It's the coming home and appreciating your own sights that is the reward.

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  21. A contented gardener ... a good name for a blog. An even better alternative name for Laurrie. You've done a ton of work for many years and now you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. That your garden creations make you and Jim feel at home means you are a successful gardener. Congrats!

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    1. Joene, the work never stops and the garden always changes, but it really is nice to have that feeling of enjoyment at one particular moment in time.

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  22. Beautiful post and photo of you poking out from that really cool shed! This post made me happy. :)

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    1. Diane, thanks! I'm glad I gave you a little lift on such a rainy gloomy day today!

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  23. I like that she'd too! Isn't it nice when your garden has matured enough so that when you go to an established garden you like yours as much? And it's yours, with its own unique sort of beauty formed from the work and ideas you put into it.

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    1. Sweetbay, it really is rewarding to get a kick out of one's own garden. Makes all the work worthwhile every now and then!

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