People often ask what motivates you to pursue a career in the field that you’re involved in. For me, I have always been drawn to horticulture because it beautifies the world through a balance of science and art. Each day I am able to be creative, but with an overall purpose and reasoning in mind.
This past week I reflected on this while viewing the work I had just completed. That realization was valuable in that it gave me the inspiration for this blog, but a couple hours too late for I did not take any before shots of the work I accomplished! That morning, I was assigned to work with Gordon, one of the three gardeners who serve as an area supervisor. We walked through the stream garden and he noted how the eye is meant to flow across the landscape with key points keeping your eye moving forward. As things grow in, they can alter the path of visual movement and lessen the overall impact of the vista because they draw too much attention. In this case, the Symphytum that was meant to remain in the background had grown forward and towards the stream. This drew the eye to the mass of it, rather than allowing it to follow the stream naturally.
Gordon left me to decide how to solve this issue. Plants could be removed, cut back, or left as is, but those decisions were up to me. This created a fantastic experience for me to think through the garden issue at hand and create a solution. This allowed me to utilize creative vision to project what possible alterations would yield and it gave me new perspective on garden design.
In the end, I removed all the Symphytum from the streambed area because I felt it did not add anything to that area and from the bridge it blocked the view of the stream. I removed quite a bit from the bank in order to return the planting to a background rather than a feature. Finally I thinned the planting a bit on the top of the bank to lessen the mass effect. While the photos make it difficult to see the project as you would in person, I do believe that the eye flowed more naturally following this change! It was intimidating work at the start, but the experience was quite valuable.