I’m pleased to share that the newly published May/June 2012 issue of Northern Gardener includes an article I wrote titled "English Borders for the North."
Last spring, three friends, Jill Bickford, Cathy Nyquist and Maureen Dahlquist, and I traveled to England. We visited several famous gardens, toured the countryside and ate excellent English breakfasts and pub meals. It was a fantastic trip and I returned home positively bubbling over with ideas—both to practice in my garden and to write about.
The premise for this magazine piece was the following:
“The four of us had been continually amazed. The gardens we explored were beautiful, certainly, but there was something else that made them distinct from gardens in the United States. Was it the robustness of the perennials? Was it the countless varieties of clematis and roses? Or was it each garden’s enviable setting, complete with well-aged brick, wrought iron gates and impressive evergreens and oaks?
“It finally became clear at Kiftsgate Court when we stepped onto the grass path and took in the wondrous length and breadth of The Wide Border.”
I delved into the history of English gardens and analyzed what I’d seen. I then described and detailed five features that I thought were common to all.
• Background and Foreground • Bed Shape and Size • Plant in Drifts • Limited Use of Ornament • Feeling of Abundance
Also included is a list of plants we saw in the borders and that would (with only two exceptions) do well in our northern gardens.
My thanks to Mary Lahr Schier, editor of the magazine, for publishing the story and for her source of excellent photos that accompany it.