I’ve been in love with Piet Oudolf’s gardens since I came across a copy of Designing with Plants by Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury while browsing in Barnes & Noble in 1999. I’d never before seen the kinds of startlingly romantic, lush, naturalistic, absolutely stunning plantings I found in that book. I was smitten, and I haven’t gotten over it since. So when Carolyn Mullet, a well known garden designer from the DC area, gave me the opportunity to join her carexTours‘ Dutch Wave tour last August, I jumped at the chance.
‘I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties. Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.’ – John Keats
I don’t have much to say about these autumn photos of my garden. The rising light of morning and the lowering light of evening create a palpable atmosphere. Better silence, after these few words.
Federal Twist will be open for the Garden Conservancy Open Day this coming Saturday, along with nearby gardens just across the river in Bucks County, PA: Paxson Hill Farm and Jericho Mountain Orchards. We’re happy to have as guests Broken Arrow Nursery, Atlock Farm, and Orchard Jewelry.
Click on the photo for more information.
An article on Federal Twist is in the September Gardens Illustrated. This issue won’t reach the US until sometime near the end of September. So here, forthwith, a scan, which I realize may be difficult to read (click images to enlarge them, click again to enlarge more).
‘I hate to see that evening sun go down.’
The line comes from W.C. Handy’s St. Louis Blues, composed by the man called the father of the blues. I think the power of this lyric comes from the sheer poetry of words and image. Why did Handy say “hate to see”? The image of the lowering sun is an evocative one, but it contains a hint of the dark to come, one William Faulkner recognized when he named a short story about a husband lying in wait to kill his wife ‘That Evening Sun’.
So our brief, but heavy, thunder showers last week changed their duration. Instead of 20 minutes of heavy, deluge like, rain, it came for hours, over and over again.
It’s late July and I haven’t posted on the garden’s progress for over six weeks. So much for my garden diary … After a drought of several weeks, we’ve had a long period of frequent, often violent, thunderstorms with torrential rains, mostly lasting only 20 or 30 minutes, but certainly stressful for my structural perennials and grasses. So different from those light mists and showers I remember in England last summer. Another reason why American gardens are different from English gardens, I suppose.
Once warmth arrives, the garden luxuriates in planty fleshiness, growth proliferates, detonates in slow motion.
‘”I started collaging as an escape from making meaning. I got tired of writing poems, of trying to make sense – verbal sense. It is a relief to make a different kind of sense – visual sense. One must think, of course, but it is an entirely different kind of thinking, one in which language does not intrude.”‘
– from Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac, quoting poet Mark Strand
Until summer arrives to ripen the garden, I’ll be looking back to last summer. Click on the photo to enter the time machine.