Once upon a garden, there was a gardener who loved all kinds of plants, or most kinds of plants.
She bought plants that she liked and plants that she loved. She let plants follow her home and even kidnapped some plants to take home.
Then she found places to plant them in her garden. Some of the plants were long-time favorites; others were plants that just happened to catch her eye at the garden center.
Sometimes she would look at her garden and think, “I need a shrub here”. And off she would go to the garden center to look for a shrub. Though limited by what the garden centers sold, she would eventually find a shrub or three or five shrubs and bring them home and plant them right where she thought she needed a shrub. And she did the same with trees and perennials.
Soon she had lots of shrubs and trees and perennials and flowers in her garden.
And she was living happily in her garden.
Then one day, she looked at her garden and decided that something was missing. There were plenty of plants, plants that she loved amid plants she had settled for, plants that she didn’t particularly like and plants that she had gotten from others.
There were plants everywhere.
But all the plants together lacked a certain cohesiveness, a sense of place. She studied her garden and looked at her plants and realized…
She didn’t have a garden design.
Or an eye for a design.
So she sent an email to a garden designer and explained her dilemma. She wrote about how she loved plants and gardening, but needed some help. The garden designer responded to the email and came to see the gardener’s garden one evening.
She patiently listened as the gardener went around her garden talking about all of her plants and all of the flaws of her garden. The gardener explained to the garden designer what she wanted in a garden design, what she hoped to do in her garden.
Later the garden designer returned on her own and studied the garden. She looked at it and walked through it and studied it and took pictures of it. And before she departed, she left a book on a bench for the gardener to read.
Then a few weeks later, the garden designer returned with a garden design and went through it with the gardener, explaining it and describing it.
The gardener looked at the design and studied it and asked some questions. She asked for a few tiny changes, and then waited for the garden designer to come back with a quote.
For good garden design isn’t free, my friends, nor are plants or mulch or strong workers who can dig and transplant and tote and carry to turn a gardener’s collection of plants into a well-designed garden.
It didn’t take long for the gardener to decide what to do next and so she said, “Yes, let’s do this; let’s turn this collection of plants, this haphazard design, into a new garden, with all of the elements of design I asked for.”
(Pictured above: Tulipa vvedenskyi ‘Tangerine Beauty’ in my front garden, planted where there was a spot for it, with no regard for a garden design. I had to have it after reading about it on Elizabeth L’s blog, Gardening While Intoxicated, last spring. The garden designer is incorporating experimental gardens for me in my back yard for planting many plants just like this one.)