Tuesday, July 1, 2008


That’s what they said.
I had a small group of gardeners out to visit a garden I’ve been carving out of the woods in Woodinville for 8 years now. I was hesitant and delighted to have visitors. This garden is rarely seen by outsiders. It is also poorly maintained. Actually I’ll say rarely maintained. Yet a quality has emerged.
They called it peaceful.
To me it is curvature.
Comfortable clutter anchored in repose.
A garden composed of hostas, hellebores and hydrangeas. It’s limitations are its grace. A wild grace at that.
My gardening techniques there are like minimalist modern dance: more knocking down than cutting back, more razing than weeding. Of course around the house is tidied by technique. But the sprawling woodland behind: wildly cultivated. I always feel it’s a short-coming. My fault. But the spread of butter cups dots the garden like a summer dress. And the meadow rue seeded in a swaths. And the candelabra primroses have cut a path of fuchsia pink foam down the middle. Because I let them go.
The visitors gave me new eyes. Not the eyes that see what needs to be done, but eyes that are open to the nature of the place.
And they said it was peaceful.

What a little letting gone has done. I couldn't have planned this better myself.

The garden seems to roll back into the woods.