“A garden is our grasping for the world as much as it is a giving to the world – who we are, where have we been, where will we go. A garden is the moment, now, every emotion, every bit of knowing and unknowing coalescing into a timeless equality of mind, body, and spirit. In our best moments we are no less than a garden that saves life, not ourselves.” – Benjamin Vogt, A New Garden Ethic
I feel most comfortable in gardens that are imperfect, in places where wildness is allowed to creep into the edges of our beliefs that we have control over nature. These are the gardens that are well lived in, the places where the stray grass pokes its tuft of seed head out of the lavender, where the coffee cup was abandoned that morning, forgotten by the dire need to deadhead the roses. I love these places because they resemble their gardeners, where the love of the land and the ensuing wildlife are all admired and cherished. They are spaces that are cared for and loved, flaws and all. They are gardens that are always changing and evolving, perfect in imperfections, a tapestry, and an art form.
The garden at Brooks is a garden that has this life force. It is never stale or purely ornamental, not something to just peer at from the deck. It’s a space where you can always find me, usually in my sun hat, weaving in and out of plants as I work amongst the bustle of wildlife. The violas have seeded themselves into the paths, and raspberries strain against trellis wire. It is a space where wild meets tame, where I am always humbled to learn. A kestrel nests in the bird box I put in the lemon shade, chickens romp in a dust bath in the vineyard, and some may even be found In the garden against my best intentions. Perhaps, the most humbling of all is that yes, you will see weeds, you will see imperfections, a stray sunflower that has decided where it wants to grow, or the tangled bindweed that is making its way up the fence post. I find humor in these imperfections, and joy in the resiliency of the life that continues to sustain the garden, knowing that it also sustains me.
Gardens are spaces to be lived in, evolving communities that are dynamic. Perfection is an unachievable ideal, and as I get older, I realized that I’m not interested in it. These imperfections humanize a space, making it a reality, something that can inspire us all rather than demoralize us from tending our own garden. Take solace in the imperfect garden, in the wild and unruly corners. I find happiness in all the surprises they bring, like the bird’s nest tucked low in the Bay tree. In life, and even in our gardens, there are some things that are out of our control. Perhaps this is for the best. It is in the wildness that we grasp the bigger picture that we are only a piece of this vast ecosystem.
– With Love from the Garden