When it comes to gardening, everyone starts somewhere, and what I started with was the way my Mother’s family planted their gardens. My Mother’s family could plant and get to grow just about anything, but like most people it was only about the flowers; not much attention was put on shapes of leaves, foliage color or mass versus specimen planting. They knew enough to plant something tall in the back, something that was average height in the middle of the garden and short things in the front. I think they did a great job though, because there were no wonderful looking gardens in our area to inspire them. Their planting style I would call fruit salad a lot of color, but no defined taste.
When I started my first garden and my second one, here at Whimsey Hill House, I planted everything fruit salad as my family did. It was a riot of color, but not being controlled, hard to maintain. There were a lot of self seeding plants that I allowed to grow where they sprouted, and invasive things like monarda (bee balm) that ran wild.
Once years ago, someone wrote me a note saying They Loved my Wild Flower Garden, and asked how I got mine to look so good? The lady said they had turned over the soil at their house, threw down wild flower seeds, and all they got was a mess of flowers and a lot of weeds. I sent her a note back saying mine was not a wild flower garden, but all perennials and annuals, and included a list of plants.
My garden enlightenment, when it came to foliage shapes and foliage colors, along with mass versus specimen planting only came after going on many Garden Conservancy Opening Day tours and Lenox Garden Club tours. Those two organizations, and many others like them, are able to open up private properties so a person like me and all the other people on the tours can to see the work of professional gardeners, and people who love and have studied gardening. Those tours provide a lot of visual stimulation and wonderful ideas to bring home and apply to your own land.
So there you have it, a look back at my garden, how things have changed. Plants and trees have come and gone. Nothing in the garden or life is really forever. To compare how the garden has changed from the 1990’s to now (as well as me) click here.