Lately my thoughts have wandered to my gardens as they’ve begun to display their spring buds. They are spaces I enjoy on weekends, usually in the early mornings when you can hear birds greeting the day uninterrupted by other sounds of the city. My gardens were not designed in advance of their implementation. Instead, I prefer to think of my process as “composing on the fly.” Upon reflection, I probably did begin with a general idea of where I was ultimately headed, but the journey was filled with trials and errors (lots of them), with changing garden layouts and impulse purchases along the way.

I discovered the garden is a wonderful place to experiment, and I did just that over several years of “tinkering.” So what if the broken concrete I had planned to use for a stacked wall ended up as a garden path? My hands-on gardening approach revealed my lack of skills in the craft of dry-stacking but also, ironically, my dislike for digging soil. I solved the latter by planting smaller nursery stock – a less expensive option, but one requiring a bit more patience.

But that is the luxury of designing your own space. You do it at your own pace and as your mood dictates. Along the way I learned about both patience and horticulture, investigated soil structure and beneficial insects, and observed many birds and butterflies visiting my gardens. Luckily, the plants I placed in the ground took root and filled up my gardens, despite my neglect for weeks at a time.


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