Gardener : Philosophy of garden design

Philosophy of garden design

Gardens, like life, are a work in progress. They become what you make of them. Scattering seed with careless abandon can reward you with unimaginable beauty or complete failure. If you want to have some certainty over the outcome you need to take a greater role in the process: you do in fact reap what you sow.

Gardening treads a precarious balance between controlled decision making, extenuating circumstance, and hapless accident. The trick is to maximize the potential of circumstance and accident by learning how, when, and where to take control.

When I first began to garden I had no skills, little knowledge and a large problem to solve: a gravel pit in my front yard. Of course being in my early twenties, I had that wonderfully naive way of not really seeing the enormity of a situation. I just jumped right in with no plan, no expectations, and plenty of enthusiasm. Like most of us do in life at that age -- or at least did in the 1970s.

I am extremely indebted to that gravel pit. It gave me a unique, hands-on experience that no course, degree, symposium or landscape architectís advice could ever achieve. The traditional approach would have begun with heavy equipment, traversed through conventional terracing and ended with durable plants. Such were the stock answers I received in design courses or at symposiums.

Thankfully, even had I been tempted, I couldnít have afforded such solutions. At the end of eleven years I had a beautiful garden and considerable skill as a horticulturist and garden designer. In the process I discovered gardening to be an integral part of my life, a spiritual connection with the land that nurtures my soul.

In the twenty-some years since my gravel pit adventure, Iím still drawn to challenging contours and unconventional solutions. But Iím also committed to using the knowledge Iíve gained to help others obtain greater satisfaction from their own gardening experience.

I didnít start this journey with the idea of becoming a garden designer. I started because I had a problem that needed fixing. Along the way I found out that Iím quite good at fixing garden problems. Word spread and people began to seek me out. So began my career as a garden designer.