Tag Archives: Gardening

What Inspires a Gardener?

Contributed by Christie Dustman

One of the hardest “titles” to call myself is an Artist.  I struggle to feel like what I do is creative enough, interesting enough, hard enough or just plain “artistic.” I hold artistry as the pinnacle of talents, along with diplomacy and social grace. Sometimes I say things like, “Oh, anyone could do this,” when speaking about my design work and encounter looks of disbelief.

I found myself on the other side of this experience two weeks ago when I led a group of 120 avid gardeners, members of the American Conifer Society, across Southwestern New Hampshire and Southeastern Vermont to tour four personal gardens. Each garden was unique; it was clear that each of the owners poured their personal inspiration and artistry into their beautiful properties, and each of them was so modest about what they had created.

It is this inability of the Artist to see their creations objectively that is so curious to me.  Perhaps when a garden grows out of love of plants, love of land, and love of combining the land, plants, stones, water and wood, that it feels more like a fulfillment of a deep need rather than an artistic endeavor. For each of these spectacular gardens, the gardeners who created them made them because they had to—they needed to—and they were so grateful to be appreciated by the wondrous eyes of us, the visitors. Perhaps we allowed them to see themselves as artists for a moment.

Enjoy these photos of the gardens…

Grout Hill Farm is a 300-acre property of farm land and gardens which owners Kris Fenderson & Alston Barrett have cultivated for forty-five years.

The barn at Grout Hill Farm

                         The Barn at Grout Hill Farm

Owned by Michael and Kathy Nerrie, the mission of Distant Hills Garden is to connect people to the natural world by opening their 58 acres of gardens, forest, fields and wetlands, including a floating ‘fens’ Cranberry Bog, to the public each month.

Water feature at Distant Hills Farm

                   Water feature at Distant Hills Farm

Inspired Garden, the private garden of Marc Hudson, garden designer and owner of a specialty nursery by the same name, was started by his father. The newer areas of the garden boast richly planted garden beds, a waterfall and a parterre garden.

Inspired Garden

                    Marc Hudson’s “Inspired Garden”

Woodland Farms, Susan and Rick Richter’s gardens-in-progress have been evolving for ten years around an oak-and-stone dwelling built to suggest a medieval Anglo-Norman house on 300 acres in Vermont. Exquisitely detailed gardens, buildings and stone complete the design of this small manor farm.

Woodland Farms

             Stone work by Dan Snow at Woodland Farms

It’s Finally Over!

2015-12-30 blog pix2The Stormwatch is BACK!  Yes, this week, finally some slushy, mushy snow fell and I can officially declare landscaping season over.

For me, this recent should-have-been winter season was like a baby refusing to take a nap.  You rock that baby, you do bouncy bounce squats, you sing softly and no go, the baby screams and is a warm humid squiggle.  But today, the baby finally gets to take a nap.  The world of gardening beds down and I get a rest.  The finality of SNOW and COLD concludes the seemingly endless feats of the landscaping year.  Once there is cold and snow, it is a built-in finale – hey, what can you do? – it’s winter out there.

With the refusal of winter to alight this year, we all kept working.  We worked past our usual “end” dates and I was still consulting and answering questions and building patios right through Christmas.   While I love the action, I also long for the ying to my year long yang.  The rest after the work, the peace in my mind after the demanding creativity and simply some time to catch up on things.

Don’t get me wrong – I love landscaping as much as eating mint brownies and I love plants as much or more than some of my family – but I am ready for a rest.  Feel free to stop thinking about your garden for a month too.

See you in January  ~Christie