An Arts and Crafts Garden Retreat
After seven days and six nights in a very comfortable but sterile Marriott hotel room, I was anxious to return home last week, even knowing that several days of rain had threatened to transform our budding flower gardens into a wild array of encroaching weeds and prickly brambles.
As you may have seen in some of my recent articles, I love building flower beds in early spring, but leave the more delicate matter of plant selection up to Leigh Ann. But when April showers bring more than just May flowers, it takes us both to keep the invaders on their side of our rocky bed boundaries.
My favorite spring flower is the iris, which has inspired Arts and Crafts artists and artisans for more than a century. I always keep a watchful eye for art pottery, both vintage and contemporary, decorated with blooming iris blossoms, for in the depth of winter those glazed petals reassure us that spring will indeed return.
And when the unavoidable spring storms leave some of our iris stalks bent and broken, Leigh Ann carefully gathers them up and brings them indoors, selecting just the right vases for them, knowing that the iris blossoms will show their appreciation by providing us with several days of their delicate beauty.
My personal approach to weeding flower beds is much like my attitude toward bird feeders. I don’t have a problem with a few marauding squirrels taking their lunch while hanging upside down from a thin braided wire, nor do I feel the need to eradicate every weed from within our iris beds. They are all part of the natural order which, while we may fool ourselves into believing we can control, will patiently wait until we turn our backs before resuming their daily routine.
I often remind myself that the Arts and Crafts garden evolved in a manner similar to that of the Arts and Crafts home, emphasizing simplicity, informality, creativity and the active participation of the occupants in its design and fulfillment of purpose. Formal, English-influenced gardens complete with sculpted hedges and geometric patterns of beds and walkways soon gave way in America to a more natural approach — with meandering flagstone or gravel paths making their way around indigenous clumps of perennials.
And just as our Arts and Crafts interiors provide us with a sense of serenity, simplicity and sanctuary, our Arts and Crafts gardens, regardless of their size, can do the same.
Until next Monday,
Make this a day to remember.