In Jane Garmey’s view, the best gardens are the very personal. While it is a difficult quality to define, the garden writer and self-taught gardener says it is very apparent when the owner’s interests and hand is not part of the garden scheme. “Garden writing is not a how-to book,” she says in “A Garden Writer’s Garden,” a story about her own garden in the November/December 2013 issue of Design New England. “It is writing about the owner’s personality and the making of the garden. Showing people someone’s garden is more useful and interesting than telling them how to plant perennial beds . . . it inspires people.”
When she was researching the book, Private Gardens of the Hudson Valley, published in October by The Montecelli Press, Garmey looked for geographical diversity and a range of sizes and styles. Most importantly, though, she looked for gardens that reflected the sensibilities of their owners, rather than gardens that are completely left to the vision of a designer. All of the gardens, with the exception of one, have been entirely made by their owners. Many of these intrepid souls were true neophytes who had never even planted seeds before, a quality that Garmey can easily relate to. She didn’t know the first thing about gardening when she and her husband bought a small weekend place in northwest Connecticut. “People assumed,” she says, that because she is British she “must have been born with a spade in one hand and a trowel in the other. This was far from the case.” Now Garmey is a passionate gardener and recognized expert who has published five books on gardening and is living proof that a green thumb can be cultivated.
Great design is always at your fingertips — read “A Garden Writer’s Garden,” in the November/December 2013 issue online!