Timshala Gardens is the ongoing story of the creation of a new country garden in Olathe KS by me, Cynthia Gillis, a recent transplant from Brooklyn, NY. It will be a totally ornamental garden because every time I have made a garden for myself, with the full intention of growing vegetables in part of the space, somehow the ornamentals take over. I finally decided that I can buy wonderful veggies. I can’t buy beauty.
So…I am the Landscape Designer. I am the Client. Will I be a good client? What will it be like to be on both sides? Will the gardens be better for it? Will I have the discipline to say (as I so often must to clients), “No you can’t grow this here; it won’t look good, it won’t thrive. No matter how much you love it – love is not enough.”
Landscape and garden design is an early second career for me. Though I was always fascinated by plants and nature as a young woman, it never occurred to me that I could do this for a living. I was born in Winnipeg Canada, where winter temperatures routinely go to 40 below; gardening was hardly a top-of-mind activity.
A first career, in advertising, took me from Winnipeg to Toronto to New York, where in 1983 I married John Gillis, an architect.
A full-blown love of landscaping began when we moved into a townhouse with a small garden space. I seem to have discovered a true love as I planned the space and the plants, and it seems I was good at it. Various friends and neighbors asked for help with their gardens, and some offered to pay for the service!
By 1986 I had decided that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I left advertising to devote myself to making gardens.
To gain the knowledge necessary to do this work professionally, I took courses at the New York Botanical Garden, and studied with John Brookes at the Clock House School of Garden Design in England.
And now, with 27 years of garden making under my belt (and fingernails), it’s time to make the garden of my dreams. Timshala. Please come along on the trip.