Your Garden Story
A garden is like a fantastic book. Chapter after chapter you are drawn to read and know more. Some books you like so much that you read them more than once. The story of your garden unfolds season after season, only this story keeps renewing itself, reinventing itself, so this story never really ends: it is always beginning again.
Soon spring will turn into summer, then summer into fall, and the story continues. What is the story of your garden, when did it begin, and what chapter are you on now?
My current garden story began 14 years ago when we moved into our house. Each year has been amazing and each year has been different. There have been garden successes, failures, Mother Nature interventions, but no matter what, the story always goes on and the garden continues to grow and evolve.
If I look at myself—the caretaker of this garden, the co-author of the garden story—what do I see? Why has this garden story unfolded the way it has? What was and is the inspiration behind all the years of this garden?
When I get up in the morning and stand at my back door gazing out into my garden as the sun begins to light the day, I see a labor of love. My garden beckons me to work in it and care for it, to play in it and rest in it, and to share it with all the people I love. It became the garden it is today after 14 years and many chapters, and I am not finished yet.
One of the things I have found that always inspires me when designing and working in my own garden or the gardens of others is a reflection of one of my favorite childhood activities. For me, it was all the natural beauty I saw while hiking with my sister for hours on end in the woods that surrounded our home. Winter, spring, summer, and fall: you couldn’t keep us out of the woods. It was the awe-inspiring beauty and the magic of these spaces where my lifelong gardening story actually began.
Mother Nature inspiration
My garden and the gardens I design today realistically look nothing like the natural inspiring landscape that I hiked. The sense of space, the natural color palette, seasonal change, and observation of the natural connection between the elements of plants, stone, and water have proven to be invaluable to me as a designer. This is the true beauty of gardening: anything goes as long as it fits in and works with the space.
Formal, informal, natural, themed, contrived, simple, elaborate, native, or exotic—without you leading by your inspiration and telling the story of your garden and your life, any garden would slowly and eventually return to the original Mother Nature design.
To have the garden that is truly reflective of you at this time in your life, you have to tell your story, reflect upon what inspires you, seek new inspirations, and take risks. Don’t fret if something doesn’t work; evaluate why it didn’t work, change your thinking, and try again. Mostly, be patient. No gardens designed by you, Mother Nature, or a professional designer will develop and be all they were meant to be overnight. Some stories just take a lifetime to tell.
As spring turns into a new summer, take a moment for yourself. Purchase a garden journal and allow yourself to sit in your garden every once in a while and write about your journey with your garden. Your story is wonderful, magical, and unique, and it’s all your own.