I have to say that blogging has brought more surprises to my life than I ever imagined. For instance, I had long enjoyed Margaret Roach’s book, A Way to Garden, and had dreamed, no, fantasized, that I might one day visit it on the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days. Yeah, right. The other side of New York state might as well be the other side of the world, and Purdys don’t travel. That’s a frivolous use of money!
In my review of the Troy-Bilt tiller, I mentioned that I thought we’d have more use for a chipper than a tiller, but that I was going with the majority vote. Margaret responded by offering her little-used chipper, if we’d come and get it. Even with the cost of gas figured in, I reckoned it was a good deal, with the added benefit of getting to meet one of my favorite garden writers and see her garden. (And it just goes to show you can catch any fish if you use the right bait.)
When and Where Do You View Your Garden?
Margaret started out the garden tour explaining her overall design philosophy. “I don’t spend much time in the garden,” (What! I thought, somewhat shocked) “…unless I’m working in it. I’m usually viewing the garden from inside the house,” (Oh, right. That’s how it works with me, too) “…so I designed the garden so I have views I can enjoy from every room of the house.”
When she bought the property, the driveway ran from the road straight up the hill alongside the house. One of her light bulb moments was realizing the view out the kitchen windows (also seen from the dining room) was of …her car. Very convenient once a week when unloading groceries, and very uninspiring the rest of the time. When she reduced the driveway to a parking area and garage at the bottom of the hill near the road, she gained a better view:
(This winter I’ll have to ask her what it’s like carrying groceries uphill after a major snowfall.)
I was going to say hers is a mostly shady garden, but after reviewing my scant collection of photos, I see there are also wide swaths of sunny lawn/meadow/field. The eastern side, close to the house, is full of trees and formed my initial impression. But, sunny or shady, the garden as a whole shares the ethos of the forest: a floral profusion in the spring, a leafy retreat in summer, an explosion of colorful leaves and fruit in the fall, and an emphasis on sculptural structure in winter.
If you want to visit, Margaret’s garden is open every year to help support the Garden Conservancy. Become a member and visit in 2009.