Sunday Inspiration 4.6.14 – The Last to Fall…

After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.

~ Neslon Mandela

American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)

American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)


The American Beech (Fagus grandifolia) is a lovely tree. Native to Eastern North America, it’s found in landscapes and woodlands, has smooth gray bark and glossy dark green leaves. The leaves turn bronze in fall, and stay on the tree for a very long time, making it easy to spot on a winter or early spring walk. The photo above was taken yesterday, April 5th, while on my  morning walk in the nearby wood. Those leaves will persist until the buds with the new season’s growth begin to swell, knocking them to the ground. It’s a marvel the persistance of the Beech heaf to hang on until the very last minute, to be the last to fall. But for what purpose. The prize for hanging on so long, is simply to fall and let the cycle of life begin again.

The persistant effort of the Beech leaf, echos the meaning in the quote from Neslon Mandela above, and both are wonderful metaphors for the life of a gardener. Each year we cultivate our gardens, battle pests, nurtur the soil, and prune and shape. We work until the last possible moment on our cares, only to see our creations are wiped clean with the winter snows. But come spring, we are renewed, our buds begin to swell and we start climbing hills again, finally having let go of last season’s triumphs and failures.

Tell me friends, what have you let go of from last season, and what hills will you be climbing in your gardens this year? I’d love to hear about them!


Sunday Inspiration 3.30.14 – My Masterpiece!

My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece

~ Claude Monet

Masterpiece pic

As a garden designer I often think of gardens as paintings, and the land my canvas. I don’t think of myself as equal to Claude Monet, except in the desire to create. I have enjoyed success over the years blending plant and hardscape, but have also suffered projects that have not fared as well. That is the essence of the creative arts though, the ongoing task of producing and exposing. It’s a process we all experience, whether as a professional in a creative industry or a homeowner choosing wall colorings. Each must make a choice expressive of his or her inner feeling, then set it free for others to critique.

As the ground here in Connecticut continues to warm and we begin another season of “garden painting”, I am excited to explore each canvas set before me and discover the garden the lies within each, and hopefully one day paint my masterpiece. I hope you feel the same excitement as you take on your canvas’, and invite you to share each experience with us here on Garden Sketches.

Paint on my friends!