Berkshire Garden Style: A Sense of This Place
Last week we had a little glimpse of the people behind the Berkshire Garden Style practices at Viridissima. We got a closer look at what they do, why they do what they do and why we make a conscious choice to rely on these folks for their work in our gardens. The Berkshires is home to the gardens themselves.
The people who work in my gardens and to the people who provide the plants! Thus it makes sense to talk a little bit more about this place! The Berkshires is a Place in Western Massachusetts but it also has a strong ‘sense’ of place. This sense of place is the connection between the people and the place; it is a feeling of belonging to a place, co-creating and in keeping with already established authentic ways of being in this place. Such ways of being are informed by the landscape and the environment that we find ourselves a part of. A Berkshire Garden Style designed garden connects the homeowner to this place through thoughtful consideration of personal style blended with already established elements of the space. Connection, a sense of community and having a purpose are all reasons why you would want to spend time in a place and the BGS creates such a space for you.
The Berkshires hold special meaning both for those who reside here and who visit this place. Sometimes visitors become residents. A sense of place in the Berkshires owes much of its history to the Berkshire Cottages, a collection of estates upwards in number of 70, dotting the landscape between Lenox and Stockbridge. These homes were built between 1865 and 1901, post-war during a time of economic prosperity and include such properties as Naumkeag, The Mount, Blantyre and Wheatleigh. Families from these estates established the Berkshires as a ‘place to be’ and contributed to the progressive, literary, social, economic and agricultural activities of the area. The reasons why the Berkshires hold such special meaning present-day, is because much of the social fabric is connected, rooted, authentic and remains earth-centered.
Such social fabric acknowledges our impact as humans on the environment and the intra-being of all elements. Residents of the Berkshires have a strong identity with this place creating a ‘sense of place’. This sense of place we call the Berkshires has its own unique nature, history, and even garden problems which I hope to impart on you some knowledge for solutions over the next wee while. What brought people to this place over a hundred years ago and what continues to bring people to this place today is a sense that one is coming to be a part of what is already here. What brings people to this place is a sense that you are coming to join in with, not change, the magic that already exists.
If Berkshire Garden Style could be only two things, she would be both authentic and wild. The authenticity refers to being true, real or genuine on purpose, intentional. You will soon be able to recognize a garden in the Berkshire Garden Style. You can clearly see both the structure and integrity of design as well as the wildness within. Take a broad view of Berkshire Garden Style and you will see the meadows, forests and rolling hills and amongst these, the coexistence of beauty created by allowing some of this wildness to permeate and relate to the garden design. You will see something very special which intentionally but considerately brings form, focus and formality to the wild rambling landscape of this place. As I conscientiously pave the path for Berkshire Garden Style to be recognized and established, the challenge will be how to emphasize the importance of roots to the ever shifting population. As the population of the Berkshire grows, the challenge will be how to garden and do garden design in a way that continues to honor and celebrate what brought us here in the first place. Should you wish to be a part of this movement, find out more about how to be a part of what is already here, join me!