Gardeners find inspiration and support from all over, from nature’s expansive landscapes to the very personal and intricate jewels of fellow gardeners, to botanic gardens and the nurseries that often fuel our ardor. We visit gardens locally, and travel when we can, seeing and experiencing what other regions and countries offer. Sometimes it is the human culture and its exuberance which seems to drive a place’s horticulture and gardens in directions and extremes different from ours, while our growing conditions are very close…in other gardens site conditions can be very different than our own pushing the palette far from that possible in our own. By traveling we are ‘opened’, taken out of the familiar and our senses ‘sensitized’, as we take in the new and see the familiar in new ways. Travel can make us more receptive. After a Fall trip to New York, followed by one to McCall, Idaho, this Spring we visited parts of central and coastal California, later taking a couple weeks driving up across the Olympic Peninsula to Vancouver Island, peppering it with gardens new and familiar, adding another island, Salt Spring, on our return.
Like our gardens, we gardeners ‘grow’ over time, learning and changing our practice, our experiences ever evolving. Important to this process are those others we meet along the way who take the time to share their knowledge and experience with us, perhaps including plants or seeds, but more often simply their enthusiasm for what they do, and the sharing of their gardens. This is important to us because the practice of gardening can be a ‘lonely’ art and the world of plants is far bigger and more complex than any one of us….If we are to do it well we must seek out the aid and friendship of others. The emotional connection to what we do, creates a ‘tension’, that can be a source for the energy that drives us…and the addition of a little supplemental ‘fuel’ along the way can go a long way. Continue reading