Designing Spaces

The Whitfield/Dahle garden designed by Susanna Dadd. Photo: Mitch Maher

The Whitfield/Dahle garden designed by Susanna Dadd. Photo: Mitch Maher

Making a garden is a creative expression. And as we all know, an intellectual exercise as well as a physical one.

Put all that together and it’s no surprise that we find ourselves in an emotional and sometimes complicated relationship with the landscape. Plants, birds, insects, friends and family, soil creatures—it’s all a rich sensory soup that tugs at our heart (so many beautiful plants) and challenges our mind (too many snails!)

Gathering stories about gardens and gardeners for this issue was a delight. Few arenas in adult life give us the freedom to create an environment, even play. We gardeners are so lucky. Starting with no more than an idea or an intention, the end result may be as varied as a performance amphitheater in a Southern California garden, or a welcoming landscape for family, art and wildlife just outside of Portland, Oregon. Gardens are social.

Creative gardeners are fluent in design yet grounded in the workings of nature. They interpret needs and desires and provide solutions and beautiful spaces that enhance everyday life. A Pacific Northwest designer—who prefers to call himself a gardener—likens his relationship with clients to that of “a shrink.”

Gardeners work with heart, head, and over time; gardens are never static. Public gardens and private landscapes rely on the care and nurturing of those who tend to them. It is a committed relationship. With plants.

If garden invention, or reinvention, is in your future join us this fall at The Gardens at Heather Farms for our latest program “Renovating the Mature Landscape,” co-produced by Pacific Horticulture and the Bay Area chapter of APLD; details on page 5. And if you’re in the Pacific Northwest I hope to see you at our next Open Garden Event at Bella Madrona, a personality-infused, passionately planted and welcoming garden.