Mid-November ramble

Red maple on the great lawnIt’s garden bloggers’ bloom day and I’m distracted from blooms! Not a day went by this summer when I didn’t try to see up the skirt of a bloom with the macro setting on the camera but lately I’m all for the wide angles. Working in the garden I get so focused on the details that just like when I spend too much time in front of the computer, it feels good to stretch my eyes on the distance. (That said, I did look for some perfect close-ups in honor of bloom day – the Enkianthus is not blooming, I know, but isn’t it so bloom-day pretty? As usual, click-on for a larger look)

Rosa ‘Morning Has Broken’Dewy rose mid-November

Entrance fuchsia and lobelia - still blooming away!Red-veined Enkianthus (Enkianthus campanulatus)

This has been a long fall so far at Blithewold. We are getting eased into the bare distances of winter. This is the time for gardeners to get a broad look at our gardens and then retreat inside for mind’s eye dreaming. The Annual Garden Design Luncheon is perfectly timed to provide a fresh thought palette for those dreams. Today Douglas Reed (preeminent landscape architect from the firm Reed Hilderbrand in Watertown, MA) spoke to us about designs that fully “connect” us to the place. In his work, Doug evaluates each project site based on its history, the lay of the land and its natural attributes and rather than eradicating any of that (which LAs are perfectly capable of doing) he works to enhance our personal experience within – and looking out from – the site. He talked about how our own childhoods also help to create a connection to a place. Kids spend the first few years taking in and processing their surrounding environment. Mid November lightWhat we learned then (the shape of a tree, the size of the sky) never leaves us and instead informs how we build and inhabit our adult world. I hadn’t really thought about it that way before! And only yesterday I read an interview (sent as link in comment on yesterday’s post – thanks, Max!) of a California based garden designer who talked about how his Newport childhood influences his work.


As a landscape, Blithewold fits its place in the world (Doug beautifully illustrated this point) and because of the views within and out, we are personally grounded in it. I suspect the Van Wickle/McKee’s probably felt an even deeper connection to the place and worked with the site (not against it!) to create something that felt viscerally familiar to them.Mid November at the pond

Do you feel that kind of “connected” to your own garden or any other landscape? Do you see childhood views in your gardens/landscapes? I’d love to hear from anyone who attended today’s luncheon – don’t be shy! – and I put the question out as a possible meme too if any fellow bloggers feel tempted to write a full post… (Please put a link in a comment so we’ll all know if and where the conversation continues!)