|Our yard as it looked last summer, before the winter of 2015 killed off half the shrubbery.|
Hubs and I were in accord on what we envisioned: a casual, country garden with low maintenance, deer resistant, drought tolerant plants. We wanted it to be bird, bee and butterfly friendly, and we wanted it to be visually consistent with the surrounding woodland environment. We did not want a design that was formal looking in any way, or one that relied on a bunch of high maintenance plants requiring constant pruning and coddling.
Our landscape designer, Ridley Hailey from Pike Nurseries Landscape Design, had no trouble understanding exactly what we envisioned. He listened to us, asked plenty of questions, made a number of excellent suggestions we hadn't thought of, and then drew up a beautiful plan that met our every criteria.
Then, this past Monday, the crew from Pike arrived to turn our dreams into reality. Four days later, it was done. And it exceeded all our expectations!
Somehow, we all ended up on the same page, and when the design was actually implemented, it came to life with not a single aspect out of sync with what had been envisioned. I find this quite fascinating. Was this a form of mind transference? Group think? ESP?
In a way, it reminded me of commissioning a painting. In this case, Ridley was the artist. We told him what we wanted and what we didn't want, and he designed the plan around it.
But having produced a number of commissioned pieces myself, I recognized there were some key differences, namely, Ridley was given nothing visual to work toward, and because he didn't know us personally at the outset of the project, he had no idea what our tastes might be. In fact, I don't think he ever came into the house, where the decor might have revealed our color preferences or decorating style. Usually in a commission situation you're given something to go by, however small it may be: a photo, a scrap of fabric, or a clipping from a magazine depicting a favorite color. Not so in this case!
So you could say coming up with this design was, for our designer, very much like painting a non-objective abstract: no external references, everything rendered purely from the imagination. As I walk around his creation, noticing soft coral buds unfurling on the azaleas, feeling the smoothness of flagstones under my feet, seeing the ferns nodding in the breeze, it's all in the physical here and now -- a lovely canvas brought to life.
But here's what's so intriguing to me: what I see before me had its origins entirely in the mind, in the imagination, in memories and emotions and perceptions. To my way of thinking, that process of transitioning from the imagined and intangible into physical existence is mystical. It's an act of co-creation with something much greater than ourselves. To pick up a brush, compose a haiku, design a landscape or engage in any creative act is to make that sacred connection. The connection is very real, and very magical. It's a precious gift. And I feel very blessed to sense it each time I walk through this beautiful garden, with many thanks to Ridley, a true artist indeed.
Text and photos ©2015 Lynn Edwards