Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Julia Child or Simple Farm Fare?

When I am helping clients design their gardens they want to know precisely what the finished garden will look like. Most ask for low maintenance, long season of colour and  interesting diversity. But really? The truth?  They don't usually know what they want and they are just groping for words that will describe what they are thinking about.

Dinner smells good. The visitor's are drawn into the kitchen by the blend of smells. They know what to expect because they have been over for dinner before. It probably won't be Julia Child but it could be a good stew or a crock pot special. Bubbling or sizzling, the sounds, smells and sights give it away. A garden plan could and should help people visualize the end result but it is different outdoors. Many people have no experience at all. They don't even know the questions to ask.

Evonne isn't your "regular" gardener. She used to be a manager and she puts these skills to good use outdoors. She is creative and knowledgeable and has time to really work on what she wants. She felt bad that she had to ask for help at all. And frankly, she didn't really need it. She is one of those gardeners who gets it.

She knows she likes formal and she has a perfectly turned out home and garden to match. She sent me the photos used here recently and I just smiled when I saw them. Perfectly executed  in every way. Is this the garden all my clients are thinking of when we chat? No. Definitely not. Is it low maintenance and is it native and drought tolerant? Definitely not. It is a precisely designed garden and it suits the space perfectly.

Evonne has mastered her garden the way Julia Child mastered French cooking. And it is a delight to behold.

Gardening is a tough game in Calgary, and not everyone has the same skills as Evonne. Then again some of us like Beef Bourguignon and others prefer stew. Your garden, like your supper, does not have to suit everyone. It simply has to suit you.

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