I first learned of William Martin and his iconoclastic garden, Wigandia, several years ago when he spoke at the Vista lectures in London (I listened to all the Vista podcasts). Shortly after, he discovered my garden through my blog, and an intermittent dialogue and friendship began. Wigandia has been widely publicized in books and magazines, and has been chosen as the best Australian garden twice. But it is not an easy place to get to, situated as it is on the side of an ancient volcanic cone, Mount Noorat, about three hours drive east of Melbourne. When Phil and I planned a trip to Australia and New Zealand in February of this year, a visit to meet William Martin and see Wigandia was at the top of my list.
On Thursday, Phillip and I rented a car and headed out from Melbourne to meet William Martin and see his garden–Wigandia–in Noorat, Australia. Before we got to Noorat, we lunched with William in Camperdown and a conversation (or several) ensued–photographed by Phillip. That plant behind us is the eponymous Wigandia caracasana. (William, correct me if I’m in error.)
For me, this visit was an experience of legend.
It’s snowing again, after a literal blizzard earlier this week and temps near zero every night, the fuel oil flaming away in the furnace. So it’s a pleasant thought to know we leave for Australia and New Zealand later this week. One of the highlights will be a visit to meet William Martin and see his garden, Wigandia, on the side of an extinct volcano, in Noorat, Australia. Despite the recent bout of unprecedented heat and wildfires, Wigandia is looking good.
Check it out on William’s blog.
Coverage in The New York Times… I admit it; I feel exposed in an uncomfortable way. But as a friend was kind enough to point out to me at dinner Monday night, “Jim, you’re not the center of the universe.” So click on this link and you’ll go to a story about me and my garden. I’d use The New York Times photo, but they might sue me.
By the way, you’re invited to my Garden Conservancy Open Days on this Saturday, October 19, 10 am to 4 pm.
I’ve never successfully photographed this forty foot wide planting of Filipendula rubra ‘Venusta’. And that, I think, shows why being in the garden is different from looking at the photos in this post. This image isn’t real, it’s not even pretty, but it does show flowering has begun.
The garden has been a very busy place in recent months with my decision to create new structure and new plantings in preparation for the Garden Conservancy Open Days. Not much time for contemplation. Something William Martin said made me think whether I ever just sit down and take a moment’s pleasure in my garden. And yesterday morning I remember I did.