A garden designer’s job is to create spaces.

As a designer I create planting compositions and combinations.  And lay out planting beds.  And water gardens.  And seating walls.  And patios.  And pergolas.  Yet none of these are primary.  The primary is using all these things to make spaces.  Spaces that are inviting for humans to move through and experience.

And I realize now that this is what is truly –though slowly– coming together here in Timshala..

Yes, it is slow.  And yes, sometimes I find it so frustrating how slowly the garden is coming together.

I’ve been here about two years, and still it doesn’t mostly look the way it should and will.  It is still much too open.  Still not enough flowering plants.

Then recently, while I was whining about it, someone said to me, “Do you remember what it looked like when you started!?”

And I have to admit, I didn’t.

So I looked it up.

This was the blank slate. Mailbox in the snowIMAG0052

This is what it looks like now. Same view.woodland-walk-sept-2016-6-w-pergola-capture

And what I see is SPACES.  The walkways – which were the first thing I put in — take you through the various spaces, from the woodland to the perennial border to the pergola to the patio.  There is now a “there” there.  There wasn’t when I started.

Perhaps some kind person will remind me of this next time you hear me whining about how slow it all is.

In the garden, vs. on the outside looking in

I realize that if I have a design philosophy, it is this:  To appreciate a garden one should be WITHIN it.  Of course just looking at a good garden can certainly be enjoyable.  There can be pretty scenes, lovely compositions, brilliant plant combinations.  But unless you are surrounded by the plantings, no matter how wonderful they are, they always have a certain distance.   Just as having your nose pressed to the window looking into a joyous gathering is not like being there, walking through a field of wildflowers is very different from looking at it from across the road.

A garden is a three dimensional art form and treating it as something to be looked at from the outside turns it into two-dimensions.

At Timshala paths in every direction will take you through – not around – the different gardens areas.   Even the patios and seating areas will be within a garden.  There is a clearing deep in the Woodland Garden.  A triangular seating area acts as a transition between the Meadow, the Perennial Garden and the Woodland.

Even at the house itself becomes part of the garden.  Long pergolas lead from the main entries.  The moment you walk out the door you are directed, inevitably, along a path into the garden.

Look at the plans here to see what I mean.  Schematic design of Timshala