I have a odd but pleasing book called “Recreating the Period Garden”. It was published by the National Trust and edited by one of my favorite garden writers, the great gardener Graham Stuart Thomas, with contributions by six other distinguished English garden writers. This week’s Snippet is from the Foreword by Graham Stuart Thomas:

Many of us start gardening in a small area of ground in our parents’ garden. After this early start, apart from a certain amount of grass-cutting, hedge-clipping and the like, the pursuit of gardening remains in abeyance until we own a house with the surrounding plot of land. Then gardening starts in earnest if we are that way inclined.

The foreword goes on to muse on how many of us then progress to visiting famous gardens from which we draw a pastiche of ideas from different periods. But what I like about it is this evocation of how many of use became gardeners. I got my start in gardening helping my parents: my father with his large vegetable garden (which I hated, as most of my chores there involved weeding in the hot sun), and my mother with her planters on the deck behind our modern house. That was much more fun, as it also gave me the opportunity of having some of her time and attention, which, as a quiet middle child of three, I often craved. I always loved flowers, though, and often had pots of my own plants, indoors and out. I did enjoy the many pots of forced bulbs my father planted every fall and brought out one at a time starting in late winter and early spring.

Where or how did you being gardening?

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4 thoughts on “Saturday Snippet: Period Gardens

  1. I started by weeding my parents’ garden. While it wasn’t my favourite job, I did really love my childhood garden- three acres of formal and informal garden, wild areas including a native temperate forest and a creek, a menagerie of animals and a productive self-sufficient vegie garden. I designed and constructed my own herb garden in my teenage years, while my husband started his gardening life with his own fernery under the tank stand when he was very young. We loved developing our own garden in early married life and since then have designed three more gardens with all our moves. This is definitely the final one!

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    1. Mine were too, that’s how my father got “the bug.” My grandparents had a small garden around their house but a larger “allotment” where they grew lots of vegetables. I think it was partly a way to save money during the Great Depression but they also really loved to garden.

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