When we moved to our little red house on one and a half acres in 1977, I was 26 years old, just married, and beginning to rediscover myself after my rebellious counterculture years. Immediately, I was drawn out into the barely landscaped yard trying to figure out how to improve it. Four decades later, while preparing anxiously for yet another Open Garden Tour, my garden worker and I were squatting over the contorted root ball of a small tree when he looked at me and asked, “Why do you do this?”
He meant, of course, why do I spend so much time and so much money on an ornamental garden that achieves nothing but nice views out my window and provides a place for people to walk around, perhaps admire, and be inspired?
I have no idea—except that throughout my intimate relationship with the garden over my entire adult life, I’ve been…
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