Cultivate Simple Podcast in iTunes Chiot's Run on Facebook Chiot's Run on Twitter Chiot's Run on Pinterest Chiot's Run on Flickr RSS Feed StumbleUpon

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?

Quote of the Day: La Quintinye (Louis XIV’s gardener)

June 17th, 2012

Where a potager should be located with respect to the house? If there is enough space, the area nearest should be kept for flowers and parterres and the potager should be on the best ground beyond that is still readily accessible. But if one can have but one garden, it would be far better to employ fruits & legumes than in box & grass” La Quintinye (Louis XIV’s gardener)
The Art of French Vegetable Gardening

I had to laugh when I read this quote, too funny with the current cultural norms in our society where the opposite is the case. Here at Chiot’s Run we have both box and grass alongside edibles. We definitely have more edible plants than ornamental, but I find many edibles to be highly ornamental. Of course back when this was said one would have to choose edible over ornamental if you weren’t wealthy and wanted to eat.

Stan Hywet in Akron has both ornamental and edible gardens. As does Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania and many other botanical gardens.

While I love my edibles, I still really appreciate the beauty of box, grass, and other non-edible species. My efforts will never be solely spent on growing edibles, for I find just as much nourishment, though of a different kind, from a fragrant peony and hydrangeas, to shaped green boxwood. In fact I’ve always dreamed of having boxwoods in pots by the door and just recently added some (read my post on the Your Day Blog about it).

What’s your favorite non-edible plant(s) for the garden?

Garden Design

November 29th, 2011

It is true that nature, up to a point, can, and often should, be compelled by the gardener. But the very best gardens are made when nature is a collaborator rather than an adversary. Often, that part of the gardener’s site that seems at first a painful liability turns out in the end to be the very genius of the garden, its best asset.

Joe Eck (Elements of Garden Design)

I must admit that I really need to work on my overall plan for the gardens of Chiot’s Run. Before I purchased the lots on either side this wasn’t really a problem, my garden was small, I had a plan and I was executing it. Now it’s a bit of a challenge since what used to be the boundaries of my garden are no longer there.

The edges I had defined and planted with hedges and ornamental borders are no longer there. My garden extends a quarter acre on both sides beyond the previous boundaries. My current garden is the middle slice of the lot. I have to decide how to proceed to incorporate these two new areas into my existing garden plan and make it seem cohesive.

Even though we don’t plan on living here forever, and because of the local gas fracking we may be moving sooner rather than later, I’m still a believer in gardening as if you’re never leaving. I may only live here for another year or two, or I may end up living here the rest of my life. I would really hate to be here 10 years from now and have spent that time putting off what I wanted to do just in case I moved away.

I’m working on moving forward with my new and expanded gardening plan, trying to figure out how to deal with expanding my current garden plan onto lots beyond it’s border. I’ve already started by planting bluebells and daffodils along a new walkway through the maple grove. It connects the fire ring in back of our current garden to the new lower lot. Eventually the plan is to have these flowering bulbs wander down into what will hopefully become an orchard on the front of this lot. The new lot on the other side will, in my mind, become a more formal potager surrounded by a strong hedge to keep out the deer and to provide privacy for the neighbors. These are just a few of my initial thoughts, I need to sit down and scratch them onto paper and try to figure how I must proceed to make my plan a reality and to fit my current garden into this new plan cohesively.

Do you have master garden plan? What’s your biggest problem when it comes to garden design?

Reading & Watching

Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!


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.