I have been making gardens in Maine for many decades, and am largely retired from serious work. Time now to turn my garden from the cobbler’s child it has been for so long and into the garden it has always promised to be.
However, I still love to help people plan and make their own gardens, and will gladly do this on a fairly informal basis for anyone who can deal with that.
My definition of a well-designed garden is one that meets its users’ needs, and deciding what your needs and desires are is the first step. I see gardens as places to live in - for people, pets, birds, pollinators - all sustained by the plants you use to make the garden.
In my belief, a garden should never be a contributor to environmental problems, so I strive to make gardens that need no harmful inputs: no invasive plants, no toxic materials, and as little hard work to maintain them as possible. This means good soil preparation and careful plant selection - getting it right the first time being as good a definition of sustainability as I have found.
There is great beauty and diversity in our native Maine flora, and learning the likes and dislikes of the best natives and how to use them is a rewarding task. But that never means that I have stopped loving and planting so many other garden must-haves, from all corners of the world. There is always one more space to find the perfect plant for, and one more plant you have to have, and a garden goes on growing with you as long as you live in it.
"You either take control of your love life or it takes control of you. It’s that simple."
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