October 2021: Gardening In and Out of the Dirt



So it’s official! It’s been over a year since Morgan, our Berkshire Garden Style editor, and I began the blog writing journey. I’m always so excited to share with you each month my musings, my observations and my experiences of gardening - Berkshire style!


Staying true to my ethos of gardening with nature as both our backdrop and foundation, my recent interests continue to lie in the forest landscape. Forests are where we find mycelial activity and where the balance established here informs the wider landscape.



I’m still stuck on the topic of mushrooms and I’ve even delved into the world of culinary delights enjoying my foraged treasures of ‘chicken of the woods’, ‘lobster mushroom’, ‘lions’ mane’ and ‘black trumpet chanterelles’. When I think about eating mushrooms I mostly think about butter and I enjoyed these beauties lightly sauteed in plenty of butter.



Besides my kitchen endeavours, I’ve been watching the weather and the climate patterns in the garden. It’s mid-October (the 13th to be exact at the time of writing!) and still we have not yet had a frost. The dahlias are in full splendour, some things are entering dormancy while some random spring blooms are sprouting!



Everything is slowing but nothing is stopping quite yet. I want to stop. I’m ready for winter to come; I’m feeling the call of the fire, the long rests and short, quiet, uninterrupted days to do as I please - the space. I’m always reminded this time of year of my other home out West in Southern Coastal Oregon. It’s dark and green and wetter there. This time of year also reminds me of England which experiences this temperate weather many more months of the year than we do.



I’ve not been gardening much which is fine. Design, management, and consulting work have been keeping me on my clean toes. I haven’t had my hands in the dirt in several weeks until today when I got down and dirty with my garden team instructing them on the finer points of transplanting Lady’s Mantle and Peonies - herbaceous and tree-form.



In addition to all the Garden Boss work, I’ve been spending much time prepping for, and instructing the ornamental woody plants course at the Berkshire Botanical Gardens. I was struck last week, while the class stood outside, that in one direction if you look you see the cultivated skyline of the botanical garden and in the other direction you see the forest. It is the forest that captivates my interest mostly these days and my garden design work is becoming more nature inspired/modelled/informed than ever. It’s been great to seek and find inspiration in gardens out-with my own design lately and my teachings at the BBG give me a renewed sense of commitment to letting the environment inform my design choices.



Last week, I visited the gardens at Edith Wharton’s home - The Mount. I never took the chance to consider and reflect on this literary legend who resided in the Berkshires and was so inspired by the landscape. This visit also sparked a deeper interest in Wharton’s niece, Beatrix Ferrand, who was a trailblazer for women as landscape designers in America. Planning to spend more time in the gardens at The Mount! Stay tuned as we wrap down the season, turn our sights towards winter and begin planning for what’s next.



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