I began writing about gardens by default, urged on by my garden’s evolution and a growing obsession. No day went by without my taking notes; the yard became my library, my experimental lab until I found it difficult to write about plants I hadn’t grown. I figured out design against the odds — living next door to a massive, dangerously weak weeping willow, which cast all-embracing shade. Over the years, I also learned how to organize and perfect one small section at a time, to harmonize colors by picking up a tone from one plant and echoing it in the next pocket, working dramatically toward a focal point.
Shade, to me, is merciful, a blessed quality, not something to be rued. But my taste and the plants themselves change swiftly. One year I was on the prowl for the new or the unusual, others I concentrated on variegation or interesting foliage. When the weeping willow was removed, I got such a whack of sunlight I couldn’t stand it and set about planting more trees.