Remember gardens speak.
Visiting gardens can open the door to ideas you might express in your own garden.
It is not a passive experience when you step into someone else’s garden to see what the owner has done.
It’s quite the opposite. The garden speaks to you.
A garden can connect with a visitor in a special way.
Just think of a garden that you have visited.
Like time spent with a friend you have not seen for a while, you find you could have stayed there for hours.
In his book The Arcadian Friends: Inventing the English Landscape Garden Tim Richardson says , “Landscape gardens are not passive; they speak to us, and as we progress around we communicate back with our actions, and later with our memories.,”
His reference point is the extensive garden of the aristocrats that date to the seventeenth century. His book reveals the inspiration and the work of installing such gardens like Stowe and Rousham that still open their doors to visitors .
But I think you can use his thought and apply it to any visit to a garden.
As spring and summer approach, you know you will seek out gardens to visit.
The garden at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Connecticut is now on my list. I prefer gardens of the late nineteenth century, whether Victorian, Arts and Craft, formal, or natural. That period, when the seed and nursery industries became so important to gardeners, reveals the role of the garden industry in the style and fashion of American gardens.
I remember visiting the Tiffany Gardens Bed and Breakdast in New Hampshire. A row of ferns, rose astilbes, and yellow ‘Stella de Oro’ daylilies just stopped me in my tracks. [below]
Rochester, New York’s James Vick spent time visiting gardens as part of his role of owner of a seed company in the nineteenth century. He traveled in both America and Europe and always mentioned the gardens he had seen.
In 1878 Vick wrote about the English Ivy he had seen on his visit to England. He said, “Those who have visited the Ivy-clad cottages and palaces and ruins of the Old World, will never forget the admiration with which they first beheld this wonderful plant.”
The memories of gardens visited continue for a long time.