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One Thing Leads to Another

Articles: One Thing Leads to Another

… what defines a garden is less what is grown in it than how what grows is arranged.
Joe Eck, Elements of Garden Design

One of the particularly satisfying things about designing gardens for other people is that, in most instances, I get to consider the project as a whole, from the beginning. I can plan the overall structure, the hardscape and the planting as a more or less coherent design; manage the construction; and plant it as a continuous, if sometimes rather drawn out, process. Then I can stand back, imagine how it will look when the plants are grown up, admire what we have done, dust off my hands, and move on to the next project.

That can be really gratifying and produces good art and wonderful gardens, but it does mean that, as a garden designer, I seldom create a garden for others in the way we gardeners tend to make them for ourselves. For various reasons we tend to build them in stages, with time to consider the successes or failures and, ideally, with each new part growing from, and informed by, what we have already done. This does not mean the design is lacking an overall plan—it can be strongly structured—or that the gardener has no clear idea of where the desig...


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