Monday, May 12, 2014

Seeing the Garden Through Elizabeth's Eyes

This past Saturday afternoon, I tackled a project with April Ryan (see my 12/11/12 post).  For a garden curator of an historic property, it's important to see the garden as much as possible through the eyes of its original creator.  In order to do that, the original design must be restored where time, plants, or new ownership has changed it - purposefully or not.

I spend a lot of time studying photographs of the garden structure.  There is always something new to discover in Miss Lawrence's garden, even in a literal snapshot.  Relatively speaking, we have very few photos of the garden during Miss Lawrence's tenure.  (If you have, or someone you know has, any photographs of the garden, I would very much love to have a copy - for reference more than anything else.  Contact me!)  The photos we do have offer up a bit of pixelated revelation.  Take, for example, this series of photos of the front of Miss Lawrence's house:
This photo was taken in the early 1980s - probably 1984, the year Elizabeth sold her house and moved to Maryland.
Notice the gentle curve of the front right bed line.
Wing Haven owned the property when this photo was taken in October 2009.  Again, that front right bed line has its gentle curve.  Very much worth mentioning here is that Elizabeth Lawrence Garden savior and gardening goddess, Lindie Wilson lived and gardened here for the previous 23 years... saving all elements of Elizabeth's original design.  Thank you, Lindie!!!
Now here's that same area in April 2010:
So there obviously was a design change made, probably to maximize planting area.  While it's certainly not offensive, it is not true to Elizabeth's original design.  And frankly, that just makes my teeth itch.

So, as I said earlier, I tackled a project:
I have been surprised by how much better this area looks and feels.  It just feels right now... as it should be.  And thankfully, my teeth have stopped itching.

Yours in Dirt,
Andrea Sprott

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