I have walked in a garden, pristine and pure, perfectly manicured and ordered, and though beautiful, it lacked soul. I could not feel the echos of nature or see the footprints of others before me. It had no history or wear or wrinkles. It was a garden for display, like clothes on a mannequin at a department store.
A garden needs patina. Age or use will soften the edges, and surfaces will grow beautiful as colors and textures richen. I like a garden with spirit, that reaches and drapes and stretches and pushes boundaries. It's a living organism with multitudes of sounds and smells. Wildlife and insects are abundant. It may be a bit messy, but not necessarily so. I am not talking about neglect. I am talking about giving a garden a personality. A garden should say something, whether it is formal or romantic or playful or quite hedonistic in tone. When we see the garden, we see a reflection that tells us something about its creator.
Old gardens will naturally acquire patina, but new gardens can be personalized for similar effect. Swings, benches and arbors invite the visitor to stay a while. Garden art may be inspirational, playful, or elegant. Ornaments may give a touch of whimsy. Beautiful pots can add color, and wind-chimes can add music. Some of these things may be aged and imperfect or may have great sentimental value. All of these things infuse the garden with energy. They say, Someone has been here. Someone cares about this place. You are welcome, too. Come, enjoy what I have to offer.
As you wander through a garden, there should be a sense of mystery. There should be stories to tell. I have old things in my garden that belonged to my parents and my grandparents. I have things that remind me of my children. There are things that bind me to Lou, that represent our marriage. It is a garden for me, but I hope others will take pleasure in it, too. Here are a few of the things that make my garden special to me.
Mature shrubs, like this very old camellia, just now coming into bloom:
Moss and lichens:
Pots with great colors and shapes:
Old wood, made into birdhouses and a picket fence:
And someone who enjoys the garden, too. Our dog Lily, who is part collie and part woolly mammoth:
May all of you be blessed, who have taken time to walk a while in Deb's Garden.