One of the most formative experiences of my life was working at a research institution in D.C. with the most beautiful Beatrix Farrand-designed garden. It was a constant souce of amazement to me. Farrand’s planning of the gardens was masterful–not just the individual and distinct “garden rooms,” but the way she planned and planted not for the present but for future years and generations. At the time I worked there, the garden had truly entered its prime, and there was beauty to be seen every day–even in the winter, even in the rain. A quote that was on the wall of the institution always inspired me: “gardens have their place in the Humanist order of life; and […] trees are noble elements to be protected by successive generations and are not to be neglected or lightly destroyed.”
As we plan long-term plantings, I’m trying to think about the future and not just our immediate needs. It’s been so special to be able to draw inspiration from our local arboretums and the public land in our area–many of which have landscapes designed by the Olmstead brothers of Central Park fame. Something that the landscapes I most admire have in common is that they work with the shape of the land instead of against it–it is a clarification of a vision instead of a new one. That’s what I’d love to do here.
Where do you find your inspiration for your outdoor space? If you are struggling, I highly recommend the new book on Beatrix Farrand by Judith Tankard–it has been absolutely pored over by every member of our family!