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My Garden’s Backstory

Articles: My Garden’s Backstory

Our new backyard lives much larger than its tiny urban footprint. Photo: Lorene Edwards Forkner

I’ve made many gardens over the years. In truth I should say I’ve made many, many (many, many) gardens. It all began with a minor messing-about-outdoors dalliance and quickly progressed to more “serious” endeavors built around roses and herbs—I even had a knot garden. Sixteen years in the nursery trade fed an escalating plant-accumulation phase, which was perhaps inevitably followed by a period of attempting to tame the horticultural tiger I had loosely by the tail.

Fast forward to four years ago: the adjacent greenbelt once filled with blackberries, black bamboo, morning glory and nettles—weedy but sheltering—was stripped to the subsoil. For the next two years a cacophonous, muddy building site swarming with trucks and a large crew on the property next door dominated our backyard. The garden, as was the gardener, was in ruins. I’ll spare you the blood, the sweat, and yes, the tears.

Garden design is many things: art, science, traveling through space (and time), but primarily it is an exercise in problem sol...


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