Making a garden should never be less than deeply fulfilling experience. There is no need to feel overwhelmed by landscaping plans and plant choices and the task can be approached in much the same way you might a kitchen update.
As your teacher, my goal is to share with you ways to create outdoor areas that, like our interior rooms, charm our design sensibilities, are comfortable and appealing to our personal taste, and reflect our individuality. I hope to fill you with endless inspiration, give you an understanding of plants, what makes them grow and look beautiful together, and some context about why the nature that surrounds us matters.
A great garden welcomes you in the same way that a wonderful hotel envelops you and sweeps you away to another place. Great gardens are adventures, filled with discovery and exploration and your course will take you on a similar journey that will arm you with skills to create your own adventure.
To create a garden that is a perfect reflection of you and whoever else lives in it with you, you must insert yourself into the experiment. Henry David Thoreau wrote that “its not what you look at, it is what you see” and you must look at the garden as an opportunity to transcend the ordinary. Don’t be afraid to express yourself and do whatever crazy thing you might always have thought wonderful.
They say that smell is the most powerful sense for drawing us back to a particular place and time, but I think gardens and plants have remarkable time-machine powers. Gardens and landscapes regularly take me back to when I was a kid building grasshopper graveyards with little stones in the dirt, counting the shades of green on my grandmother’s Montana ranch, or sniffing nettle (thinking it was mint) only to learn of it’s powerfully painful effects on my nose. These adventures that start with plants are so valuable for us as adults and even more important to build into our children’s lives so they mature into people who not only embrace the responsibility of cherishing our environment, but also become happier people.
We go outside to grow things, breathe fresh air, regenerate and relax. Trying to conquer the forces, such as storms and pests that will act against all our best garden intentions is counter to what we seek in nature. It is much wiser to recognize that you are just one part of the design and no matter what your initial vision may be…the final outcome will never be just as you intended. But if you learn to work as a team with the garden, it will be better.
I want a garden to live in, one that reflects my character and taste as much as does the things I wear and the rest of my home.
But a garden is a specific kind of challenge, it changes and has a life of its own and that presents challenges in a way that no other design practice does. A garden has to weather, well, the weather. It has no roof and walls – though you can define them if you want to – and the confines, arguably, don’t even stop at the property lines.
Stuff lives in a garden, things move and change all on their own and they evolve intricate relationships with the other things around them (whether you, the garden-maker, likes it or not). When you think about a garden’s ecosystem in this way, the practice of garden design starts to resemble some sort of Frankensteinian experiment in evolving beauty. Which is, of course, exactly what it is.
If I achieve one thing while you are my student it will hopefully be to inspire you to imagine something more for your garden and the way in which it can feed your desires and provide an extraordinarily satisfying place for you to live, play and relax.
See you soon,
P.S. You have made it to the end of my little virtual scavenger hunt I set up for you. By now you should, for sure, have your login details and course confirmation in your inbox. If not, check your spam folder or promotions folder. But if you still don’t have it email me at email@example.com and I’ll help you sort things out ASAP. I want you to get started right away!