“Everyone was incredibly enthusiastic”


Well, that’s what Noel said. It seemed to ring true. Everyone was lively and happy and interested.


When Noel Kingsbury suggested he bring his Garden’s Illustrated tour group by Federal Twist on the way from their New York City segment to the horticultural delights of the Philadelphia area, I was afraid the October 3 date would be an “in between” period in the garden–summer had ended and autumn colors hadn’t fully arrived–but so be it. Gardens are living things.


In addition to Noel, who I’d met a couple of times before, my old friend Amalia Robredo from Uruguay was on the tour and that was a real pleasure. I hadn’t seen her in over three years. And I finally got to meet Valeria Hermida, who I’ve corresponded with but had never met. I also had the unexpected pleasure of  meeting Jo, Noel’s partner–a warm, lively, and immediately engaging woman. Just listening to accents, it appeared we had visitors from Scotland (several), England, France, and North Carolina–in addition to Argentina and Uruguay.


Photo time for Noel, Amalia, and me.


After about an hour explaining my naturalistic “artificial wet prairie” and wandering about, we all headed off for lunch at the nearby Sergeantsville Inn, a historic building dating back to the 18th century. Lunch was lively too. I sat between Vincent, who gardens a one acre walled garden in Scotland, and Noel. Listening to Vincent reminded me how much I love the Scottish accent!


Then the group was off to Philadelphia and several more days of garden touring.

Someone, I think Amalia, took one good photo of me, almost smiling (not an easy thing for me). Maybe it will become my new gmail image?

AR photo of JG

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10 thoughts on ““Everyone was incredibly enthusiastic”

  1. What lovely light you had for the visit!

    (The effect is all the more powerful as today’s patches of sun here were the first in a week.)

  2. Dear James, how marvelous to catch these glimpses of your garden being explored and enjoyed by your true contemporaries! Clearly these folks know what they are seeing, and are loving it. Your creation is inspiring. As Chalky and I walked around the newly-dug “sylvan pond” this afternoon, we talked about how fine it would be for y’all to come visit and walk around it with us. Please do if you ever make your way south again.

    I’ve been back a year now, and it’s this land that makes it possible for me to enjoy living in Mississippi. Once my online clothing business is revved back up and churning out income, I’ll break ground and begin to learn.

    All best wishes, xox. Peggy

    1. Peggy, thank you for your message and your word painting of walking the new pond with Chalky. I can see it in my mind’s eye. We do definitely plan to make it to the south again, probably many times. If Chalky is interested in exploring a meadow or prairie-like garden on part of his vast acreage, I’d love to help him think about how to make it happen. I’d also just like to see you two and see the land. So you’re starting up your business again? My best to you, James.

    1. Anne, we’re on the road to making plans, I hope for July, and for as long as possible. I, of course, want to visit from Scotland to Cornwall, perhaps a little ambitious. Noel mentioned you are not far apart.

  3. The cream always rises to the top! The UK group that visited Federal Twist paid you the highest compliment possible. But, of course, you must be used to receiving such deserved accolades by now.

  4. Alas, I missed this post and the visit to your garden but nevertheless feel a keen kinship to all parties involved. Good to see so many familiar faces still exploring the frontiers. Onwards ho!

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