The 2016 growing season has been a different one from the past, well, all other growing seasons. Normally it is dedicated to landscape and garden design. This year it has been dedicated to gardening.
Last fall I lost my head gardener at Rivendell, the private estate whose landscape & gardens I designed in the fall of 2007. I started working there last September to fill the gap and after the winter thaw I rounded up some under-gardeners and began again.
This unexpected professional shift has been a wonderful and scenic detour. Many of the great designers in the UK have a background in gardening, which was one thing I realized while living in London. I felt a lack in that area as I knew it in theory, but not so much in practice. This year I have been developing personal relationships with the plants I placed so many years ago...understanding their needs and strengths, and what they have to offer a design on a more intimate level. Paying closer attention to flowering times, overall habit, color combinations, what pairs well, potential problems...I feel strengthened as a designer and am the better for it.
Spending so much time in the gardens of Rivendell has encouraged me to work towards my goal of having and developing my own garden to enjoy, care for, and grow with over the years. I hope it happens sooner than later.
Some recent photos of the gardens and landscape: