Over the years I have become quite knowledgeable about perennials. Shrubs – I’m not quite so good, but still good. A deep knowledge of trees has always eluded me. I’m not sure why but I suspect it’s because most of my experience is in small gardens, and one or two trees is the most I typically do.
Of course I’ve done country gardens. But they have usually come with their own trees. My job has been to do some editing, removing some trees from existing, unkempt woodland to make it more accessible, more of a composition, and then adding groundcover, bulbs, perennials, shrubs. That is, making a wooded lot into more of a garden.
But here at Timshala I’m actually making the woodland. Most of my plantings are trees. Large shade trees…understory trees…masses of shrubs. And I have fallen in love with them. Someone said to me the other day that I am creating an arboretum. Well that isn’t quite true. My choices are for beauty, seasonal interest, size and compositional qualities. An arboretum is a teaching collection, and is usually a ‘collection’ — that is one of everything — rather than a composition. But I am having the most wonderful time shaping spaces with trees.
Today, this entire semi arrived filled with trees for me. Huge quantities, some for the woodland, some for specific locations around the house or in the meadow. I’m now actually seeing some of the vistas I had in mind when I created the design. Views through a window or door are now framed by trees just as I imagined.