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Quote of the Day: Linda Joan Smith

April 7th, 2013

A garden’s formality, informality, sense of place, cultural leanings, and general atmosphere arise as much from it’s structural elements as from its plants or ornament. A picket fence sets a different mood than a palisade of heavy timbers or a 10-foot screen of bamboo. A pebbled path imparts a different ton form that of a straightaway of mortared slate. A trellis in an elaborate chinoiserie pattern says different things about the garden–and the gardener–than a simple plant ladder of branches pruned from the orchard and cobbled together with nails and twine. All communicate a message about who we are, what we like, where we come from, and in what realm our passions lie.

Linda Joan Smith (Smith & Hawken Garden Structures)

building_rock_pathways_in_the_garden 5
Back in Ohio I had figured out the level of formality that fit with our garden and space. I’m still trying to work it out here. While I’d love to have something a little more formal, this place seems to lend itself more towards a relaxed feel. While I’m out working in the garden I spent time imagining what different types of paths I’d like to use, what material I’d like my fencing to be made out of, and what I want my next chicken coop to look like. There certainly is a lot of thinking to do, it’s a good thing I don’t have to decide any time soon!

How would describe your garden: formal, informal, relaxed, etc?

8 Comments to “Quote of the Day: Linda Joan Smith”
  1. Marina C on April 7, 2013 at 8:05 am

    It is amusing to me that we have sort of switched places: we used to live on a 160 acres in Vermont, forest and meadows with ornamental gardens, a potager and some old fruiting trees. We retired to two acres on Main street in a quaint NH village, and planted a small birch woodland, let a meadow grow on a half acre of it, built raised beds connected by arbors and semi circular vegetable potager and planted 12 fruit trees.
    It does seem that the bigger land lends itself to less to a more relaxed feel, and one as to readjust to not wanting to nurture and make use of every inch,
    We look forward to stepping back in time and seeing what you do with your estate! Meanwhile, I am wondering where I might use boxwood…

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  2. Nebraska Dave on April 7, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Susy, as you know I have two gardens. One is in my back yard (Urban Ranch) and the other is about five miles away in the inner city (Terra Nova Gardens). My Urban Ranch garden will become the table garden and is some what formal but more table functional. Terra Nova Gardens is more natural and wild in perspective with much wild life to contend. Both places are peaceful but yet different. I am hopeful to have the best of both gardens this year.

    Have a great day in the garden.

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  3. kristin @ going country on April 7, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    The vegetable garden is extreme utilitarian. All one big wire-fenced area, planted in different configurations as crop rotation dictates. I never even really laid out paths until this year, and those are just delineated with sheep straw mulch.

    It ain’t pretty, but it does produce most of our vegetables, which is the point.

    The flower gardens? Well, those are the MiL’s responsibility. So they’re pretty much a weedy mess.

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  4. kathi Cook on April 7, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    We have an in town victorian which lends itself to a more formal look. I would prefer a cottage garden,but it doesn’t fit. I get most of my formality from the materials we use. Our veggie garden has a wide path with gravel walkways. I placed to Dwarf Alberta Spruces directly on either side of the veggie garden walkway and it instantly looked more formal. I also add annual flowers to the veggie beds to make them more attractive since they take up more than half my back yard space.

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  5. Robin on April 7, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    Other than the vegetable garden, my gardens are tiny but expanding. It’s nice to have time to work on flower gardens and adding beauty to my homestead. I have a flower crabapple and witch hazel trees coming later this month. There are iris in the Fedco order. Paths will wander through from the house to the greenhouse to the hen house to the high tunnels to the barn and back to the house. I’ll hang the first bird house this week. The garden shed needs its trim and a lot of decorating. I’m looking forward to this a lot.

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  6. Norma on April 7, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    An interesting topic and one that doesn’t often come to mind unless one moves. It made me think of how I have modified my gardens to each new place I have moved to and what came to mind firstly was what plants were never to be without. For me it was a lemon and orange tree, pomegranite, rhubarb, some herbs etc etc. Then everywhere I’ve moved I need a shade house for my collection of succulent plants.
    Maybe this will help you……..think about what plants are your favourite,
    I know you like vegies, but think of the others as well, the ones you can’t live without and then their needs and it seemed for me the rest took care of itself and just grew.
    It’s very exciting!

    Reply to Norma's comment

  7. Deb on April 8, 2013 at 8:22 am

    I never worry about formality, have no time for that. Only one place for the veggies away from spraying on the fields and then just put other plants whereever there is a space and it fits right. No planning as no one cares anyway. Can’t afford stuff for the formal garden, have to use what’s on hand or free. I’m sure yours will be very nice but I prefer seeing a friend’s infromal garden to the formal one. Thanks for the post.

    Reply to Deb's comment

  8. Donna B. on April 8, 2013 at 10:40 am

    /sigh… well I *used* to have a relaxed garden…
    Long story, but sadly I have been displaced from my home, and the garden that I worked hard on for the last five years [ripping up grass, planting perennials, amending the soil…] is now no longer under my capable hands. I’m very sad about it…
    But soon I will be adopting my parent’s gardens, and will tear up their hard-clay soil and turn it into a lush oasis! [Warmer zone = more fun! Hee hee…]

    Reply to Donna B.'s comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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