I‘ve always been in awe of gardeners. Their ability to create a beautiful garden is, by my measure, a little bit of magic combined with a whole lot of talent and hard work. First there’s the obvious challenge of choosing the right plants for the light and soil conditions you are working with. And really the work begins even before that with soil preparation, which can involve anything from soil amendment to soil removal and replacement—both of which require a daunting amount of work. And as is often the case with Augusta yards, removing trees, or at least limbing them up, can be another essential step. All this must be done before you ever purchase the first plant. And last but not least, there is the mastery of what I call garden artistry—possessing a talent for choosing and grouping plants in such a way that they not only thrive but also result in a balanced and beautiful landscape. This involves a creative eye and touch that is as much a visual art form as painting and sculpting.
And while I’m at a loss to put my finger on exactly what qualities and vision gardeners possess, I do know that gardens are spiritually rewarding to both those who create them and those who spend time in them.
If like me you aspire to transform part or all of your yard into a garden, but aren’t sure where to start, writer and garden designer Jeff Tilden offers some food for thought on the subject in “Garden Journal” on page 14. Here he defines the differences between what he terms “curb appeal landscaping” and “garden rooms” in a enlightening and engaging way. He also insists a garden doesn’t need to have exotic or labor-intensive plants. And, indeed, Jeff’s take on this is very persuasive. So much so that I’ve strengthened my resolve to “garden” once again, which is something that happens pretty much every spring. This year, though, I’m feeling particularly optimistic.
That being said, don’t expect to find my yard on next year’s garden festival tour (or the year after for that matter). I am, however, determined to make significant headway in creating at least one “garden room” in some part of my yard before the heat of summer sets in. Even if the “room” consists mainly of plants in pots.
This article appears in the May 2016 issue of Augusta Magazine.