A Look Back: Rosemary Verey's Garden

As a rule (though not an absolute), gardeners are very generous, gracious people. I wrote a post about it,  Garden Graciousness (here), not too long ago. Case in point, when I visited Barnsley House here Rosemary Very's Garden, way back when, I panicked when we arrived,

as it appeared that the garden was closed. Being a neophyte garden tourist at the time, I was unfamiliar with the practice of OPEN and CLOSED hours and days for garden visitation. (DUH).

Though it indeed WAS closed that day, a garden hand was out working, and graciously invited us in for our own private wanderings...something I didn't appreciate at the time as being such a very special thing. Such warm hospitality; such garden generosity. You probably have stories of your own about the giving nature of gardeners.

I was, and am, a huge fan of Rosemary Verey and had read and studied most of what she had written and published about her garden. I salivated over each and every image in her books,

and as you can well imagine, my fellow gardeners, when I was actually THERE, I was almost too awestruck to think and assimilate all of the beauty, all of the ideas, all of the horticultural mastery.

As I recall, I mostly just walked around with my mouth hanging open, too awestruck to take in much useful information.

It was only when I got back home... and re-examined my photos (sadly, of very poor quality in that pre-digital age. I can't begin to imagine how many images I would come back with now...hopefully of better quality... as I've learned a little about photography since then...) 

that I should have adopted a far more selfish attitude (the ying to the generous gardener yang, if you will) on the garden tour... the one I employ each time I visit a a garden now...of any size...in any environment...of any style. I now know to look at each landscape and garden through the lens of

(After seeing this image when I got back, I immediately put two round finials on the posts of the second arbor in the potager. A garden flourish that seems so obvious now, but that hadn't occurred to me until this visit.)

What's in it for me?

...or rather, my garden (Husband would no doubt argue they are one and the same.)

In almost every photo that I examine now, I find some useful insight into how I have and can use  (okay steal) the lessons from another garden space to up the beauty/productivity/practicality of my own growing spaces.

The large golden forms you see here are of variegated golden hollies. I have tried to incorporate this same aesthetic with the far less expensive, and easier to find,  Golden Euonymous.  

Now the Grumpy Gardener at SOUTHERN LIVING (I know him personally, and he does, indeed live up to his name) will tell you in his article (here) THE FIVE MOST AWFUL PLANTS TO USE IN YOUR FRONT LANDSCAPE) that this plant has too many negative attributes (insect issues, garish color, poor use in the landscape) to be of any value in the garden. To which I say "Poppycock! Don't be a hater!" (forgive the strong language). In my book, there are no bad plants, just very poor applications of their use. Manage this plant's insect issues with dormant oil, its garish tone with a bit of shade, and use it as a statement plant (i.e. as topiary, or in pots) to magnify its virtues.

This picture from Verey's Garden was the inspiration for  creating a similar color palette and 'look' at a friend's house... by growing a vigorous purple jackmanni clematis through an established hedge of golden euonymous.

As YOU look through these pictures of 

her garden (read more about ideas I have stolen from her here)

please feel free to disect them (despite their poor quality), deconstruct them, analyze their textures,

use of form and color and plant selection...

In other words...

 be selfish; what's in it for YOUR garden. 

  (I haven't grown borage in years. Seeing it here, makes me want to plant again.)

  For mere pennies find a collection of her books on Amazon here

J'adore this trellising!

 Any guess what I am going to try in my potager that's in the image above?  Do tell :)

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