Berkshire Garden Style: Organic in Practice
Last week I explained how the bedrock and hydrology of the Berkshires informs my practice. This is the foundational element of Berkshire Garden Style. This juxtaposition of intentional garden design alongside geological and ecological wildness is intentional because it satisfies one of the other elements of Berkshire Garden Style - to be organic.
To be natural and organic in our work practices is fundamental to my work. today's blog gives you further insight into our working practices. To stay true to the practices of those whose work we depend on behind the scenes is equally important. A garden of Berkshire Garden Style showcases the beauty of the plants as they bloom, flush and even decay. Hard work both behind the scenes daily, and through the knowledge and skills of generations of horticulturalists before us, means that i can offer an authentic and earth-centered practice in your garden.
My four main gardeners work tirelessly through wind and rain, cold and heat to produce and care for my Berkshire Garden Style Gardens. My gardeners know intimately the nature of each garden. They know the timing of tasks tied to each season. They understand the ever changing and organic nature of garden design, natural elements, client needs and my deepest wishes for each garden.
increasingly I am growing my own plants from seed, cuttings and transplants. while i am working towards a sustainable supply, i rely daily on plant supply from the people i trust. Featured in my gardens are bulbs from David Burdick a local collector, educator and guru of all things bulb-related. These past few weeks we’ve been planting beautiful colchiums - autumn blooming crocus - which will give your garden color long after the annuals have dulled. Plants from Rob Gennari of Glendale Botanicals feature in my gardens. Many of the annuals that we plant in your garden come from my dear friend Maureen Sullivan at Leftfield Farm. Maureen’s vision of growing plants in respect to clients, farm workers and above all, the planet is the reason why we choose to use Leftfield Farm. These people are my heroes. I look up to them, aspire to be like them.
The plants, key to the aesthetics of any garden, are part of a larger process fundamental to BGS. Maintaining natural elements and adhering to organic practices are paramount to BGS. Planting and garden maintenance are done by hand and with care to assimilate any modifications (such as through pruning, deadheading even weeding) into the natural environs. We use only organic fertilizer and water all plantings by hand.
Plants in BGS are often left long beyond their bloom stage both for structural interest and for plant nutrition and viability. Alliums look particularly beautiful, and add structure to the garden long after they have lost their purple hue. In BGS you find woodland co-existing with cultivated land where the woodland adds shade, selective weeds (which I affectionately refer to as “desirables”), root structure and oxygen to the garden. In BGS a weed is not a dirty word. Weeds grow quickly and help to add structure and soil support which may reduce erosion common during Berkshire rainstorms. Weeds attract early, late, and between heavy garden bloom-season pollinators, the bees, butterflies, beetles, and larvae which will increase your chance for colorful flowers and abundant veggies and tie into the bigger picture ecosystem that is life on Earth. As a garden grows through the season, plants change and continue a cycle of bloom, regeneration and dormancy.
containers are carefully maintained to maximize the aesthetic of the whole three-dimensional piece of plant art. Container gardening is something I’ve come to be known for in the Berkshires over the years. If you’d like to learn more about container gardening in the Berkshire Garden Style, book onto one of my courses at the Berkshire Botanical Garden or inquire about purchasing one of my information booklets.
My Berkshire Garden Style practice is firmly rooted in symbiotic and organic relationships with those who make it possible. This is the relationship between the work (gardening), the workers (my gardeners and those who make my garden design possible with their sustainable supply of bulbs, annuals and perennials) and the worked (the garden itself)!