The last you knew, we were in the thick of building this vegetable garden with raised beds-doing drainage, leveling ground, adding soil, and building boxes, working out the irrigation. We did get this garden finished and planted; it is starting to come on.
The tomatoes are growing furiously inside the steel obelisks. We planted three apples trees, pruned into a columnar shape, with rhubarb and strawberries as an underplanting. The twin beech trees, trained into an arbor, will connect this garden, with garden II-which is planned for next spring. The acid washed steel plant theatre centered in the garden holds pots of lettuce, herbs, and flowers. �
The beech arbor is underplanted with asparagus-it will take a while for them to represent. Vegetable gardens are not ordinarily so formal; raised wood boxes are not necessarily so formal. There is some talk of planting boxwood in front of the wood next year, but I like the idea of a simple working garden. I think formal spaces are fine, along side working spaces. Villandry, in France, is a very formal garden, but there is something about how the vegetables are grown that just suggests the farm. I sometimes have conversations with clients who cannot decide if they want a greenhouse addition-or a glass living room. These two spaces are very much different in tone and execution. A client interested in growing orchids under glass is a very different client than the one who wants a sunny space to read the Sunday newspaper.
My favorite part of this garden is that my client had name tags made for each box, with the names of his children. I truly admire that he is trying to impart to his kids his love of the garden, and an understanding of what is involved in growing food. This is a skill that’s very important to pass on.
My client has a a big love for formal gardens, and flowers. This garden is all about a working garden conceived and built, mindful of what manner of execution he likes best. This garden represents this-at stage one. I know we will make changes, as he has a chance to look at it. But in the meantime, each of his kids have to water, and look after their own box. It sounds to me like they have taken to the challenge.
The look of it is one thing, but how it works is another thing entirely. I very much admire and respect what he is doing here-its a lot more than growing a few tomatoes. Its about teaching what’s involved in growing tomatoes to his own children. It helps me to sleep better, knowing children are being taught how to garden. I feel sure that all over this country young people are learning how to farm, and how to garden. How swell is that?