And now the next installment in the SpindleTree adventure – how the gardens grew and continue to grow…
Visitors to SpindleTree often ask “where do you get all your ideas from?” The short answer is that necessity really is the mother of invention (and often intervention) and whenever a need or a problem makes itself known, a solution develops, sometimes easily and quickly, or, more often than not, slowly. Some ideas are born fully developed and others evolve and change as one considers options.
The main criterion, though, is that the end result of whatever the idea or solution to a design problem is, it must be beautiful and hopefully, functional. ‘Ugly’ is easy. It seems to be everywhere you look these days. And it contributes nothing of value to life.
Once the glimmer of an idea occurs, I find it leads on and on to an outpouring that at length refines itself and at some point either becomes very clear, very simple, very complete in my mind or it collapses into a complicated, overly thought-out flight of fancy and then morphs into just plain silly. This is the hard part because one tends to become enamoured of some of these ideas to the point where you don’t want to let them go but you know, deep down, you have to chuck it all and start again. It’s always hard to let go of a ‘great’ idea but once forgotten, new ideas spring up to replace it and move you forward to the right one.
For example, when we started to plan the gardens on the south front of the house, the major feature was decided on: a swimming pool. The 20 foot high curved granite promontory demanded a pool with a round end as an organic complement to the curve of the exposed granite face and once the pool was located, it seemed that an extension of the water into the far distance would create a wonderful vista. So was born Long Pond, Lower Pond and the Waterfall Dam. Locating the pool was reasonably easy but the laying-out of what we hoped would become naturalized ponds was much harder work to ensure their ‘natural’ character.
When we bought the property there was a hand dug, 10 foot deep abandoned well in the front yard. At an auction one day, we came across a handsome, very old wooden hand pump. The pump became the focus of a circular stone wall and garden the following year.
About the same time Susie and I bought some CDs of music by Sir Edward Elgar, and his inspiring composition ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ naturally led to the new circular garden being named the ‘Pump and Circumplants’ garden.
Ideas can come unbidden from fragments of a leaf or a bird call or the way the light lies on paving stones in the early morning; making them work comes from thinking and re-thinking with pencil scratches on paper and from Susie and I talking and discussing and arguing and talking some more (sometimes for years…).
Next time: The beat goes on…gardens plus and minus. …