Today when I was walking this beautiful property that I helped design and have been a faithful Steward to, I stopped and marveled at the site of this Red Wood….
I have been affected a few times in my life by plants and trees which shaped me as a person and directed my path in life. The first few were as a child when my grandmother instilled the sense of wonder with gardening and I was further supported by my parents by allowing my brother and I to plant our own little 2 by 2 foot garden squares with annuals by our old garden shed. Fast forward I was putting myself through college by working on an amazing Bloomfield Hills Property for a woman that absolutely amazed me. Every day she would begin her day in her rose garden( 5 am!) dead heading all of these magnificent blooms filling can after can of the most fragrant petals for me to dispose of. She would work directly beside me weeding and pruning-a true gardener. More to my direct point, her home, an early Wallace Frost, sits on a piece of property that rivals any home on the Hudson River and slopes down to the lake so gracefully. As one walks down towards the rose garden, three 75-80 year old Japanese Blood Good Maples greet all visitors. The sisters as I referred to them were so magnificent. Their intertwined canopies gave the appearance that they were in continuous dance. I was hooked-I was hooked with the notion I could plant sisters and design for the ages. One summer day one of the sisters was cut down and i mourned her loss for that entire summer. I knew to feel that deeply that I was destined to stay in the green design industry. I have many tales from this property and many from others and tales of people that contributed to other parts of my gardening life-Tales for another blog..
Now back to My River garden in Birmingham and the amazing redwoods….
We planted many of these magisterial Red woods along the riverside gardens of a very dear client many years ago-Today they are beginning to fully command the many vistas and canopy as planned. We planted a stand of ‘Gold Rush” when they were mere whips and now they have created an impressive feature in the garden. I am particularly proud of this property because it has grown with me as a designer and as a gardener. I have always thought in decades when laying out the bones of this garden. Those moments from my past with ” The Sisters” shaped me-directed me. We have won awards for the over all property over the years and each season it continues to get better and better.
On this same property, this friend and “patron” allowed me the freedoms to explore another vision….
I fell in love with a grouping of Fagus Asplenifolia in Central Park many years ago that Olmsted planted. These trees with their amazing internal architecture created a cathedral interior with their limbs that so affected me viscerally and emotionally that i was determined to recreate a similar room. We have been fortunate to always work with amazing families that allow us to fully realize a vision-even if they themselves or even ourselves will more than likely have left this planet before the vision is truly realized. The beauty of good landscape design is designing on a botanic time line not on a human time line. Yes i too even like a little instant but I get far more enjoyment each year watching a master plan slowly move closer to my intended direction.
My very own cathedral will take 50 plus years but I don’t mind the seasonal journey with my “ladies”. Each year they grow a little more, as do I – around the waist and in the mind.