Quotes about design

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The only limit to your garden is the boundaries of your imagination.

- Thomas Church, landscape architect -
see Growing Concerns #754 and What's Coming Up #151

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In his garden every man may be his own artist without apology or explanation.

- Louise Beebe Wilder -
see What's Coming Up #22

The most serious gardening I do would seem very strange to an onlooker, for it involves hours of walking round in circles, apparently doing nothing.

- Helen Dillon -
see What's Coming Up #76


One of the most important things a gardener does is look. The rewards are immeasurable.

- Elsa Bakalar -
see What's Coming Up #164

A garden should have no beginning and no end. And should be pleasing when seen from any angle, not only from the house.

- Thomas Church -

Don't design your back yard from the outside looking in. Design from your window looking out.

- Janet Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up #15, What's Coming Up #46
and What's Coming Up #142


What happens in the way of a garden opportunity between the door of your car and the door of the house... is where garden magic first comes into play.

- William H. Frederick, Jr., in The Exuberant Garden -
see What's Coming Up #93

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Gardeners in regions with  very long summer days have a great opportunity, and should use more of the cool colors that literally glow in the low light of morning and evening.

- Janet Macunovich, in the talk,  Local Color -
see What's Coming Up #104

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Given the right circumstances, I believe every colour can be successfully used with any other and that is the message I wish to convey.

- Christopher Lloyd -


If you have a dog, watch where it walks.  It will define a path for you.

- Ken Druse -

Be pleased with your real garden, don't pursue the perfection of a picture. What you see in a photo lasted only as long as the shutter snap.

- Janet -

Watch out for trees and traffic.
The change is slow, the impact great, yet we miss the one and mistake the other.

- Janet -
see What's Coming Up #34


...the possession of a quantity of plants, however good the plants may be themselves and however ample their number, does not make a garden; it only makes a collection. Having got the plants, the great thing is to use them with careful selection and definite intention.

- Gertrude Jekyll, Wood and Garden, 1899 -

The Arnold Arboretum shrub collection comes pretty close to disproving Jekyll, showcasing one each of dozens of plants but creating a pleasing overall, too.

There is no "The End" to be written, neither can you, like an architect, engrave in stone the day the garden was finished; a painter can frame his picture, a composer notate his coda, but a garden is always on the move.

- Mirabel Osler -
see What's Coming Up #47

Reducing the size of the garden when the time is right will never reduce the size of the gardener's heart.

- Deb Hall -
see What's Coming Up #47


To the landscape architect a rock garden... appears... the work of a lunatic.

- Louise Beebe Wilder -
see What's Coming Up #81

We all have a good idea of what an English garden looks like, as well as a Japanese garden, even a French parterre garden, Italianate garden, etc. But what is the American garden? Lawn and tomatoes!

-Neil Diboll, Prairie Nursery -
see What's Coming Up #84

A garden is not a picture, but a language.

- Henry Mitchell -

...my own preference is for mixed (beds) where there are ...groups of larger shrubs on corners and elsewhere to give shape to the views and to create surprises.

- Graham Stuart Thomas, in Perennial Garden Plants -

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History is everything in gardening: With a site, weather, a particular plant. It solves mysteries. And it's why, when others say, "You can't do that!" you can know with deepest certainty that you can. 

- Janet Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up #152

For the best building and planting...the architect and gardener must have some knowledge of each other's business, and each must regard with feelings of kindly reverence the unknown domains of the other's higher knowledge.

- Gertrude Jekyll -

Plan your garden on paper. Mistakes made on paper won't cost you much in time or money.

- Elsa Bakalar, in A Garden of One's Own -

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Gardeners often focus exclusively on plants, missing the absolutely essential visual role played by structures, from paths to pavilions.

- Janet Macunovich -
see What's Coming Up #174

 If you like it in March, it's a keeper. Build on it!

- Janet Macunovich -
see  What's Coming Up #174


When many plants are out of the picture in winter, it becomes clear that many of them should be pitched out. It's also much easier to do that before they come up and begin to talk to us. 

- Janet Macunovich -
see  What's Coming Up #174


It is a golden maxim to cultivate the garden for the nose, and the eyes will take care of themselves.

- Robert Louis Stevenson -

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Witchhazel flowers are small but their light sweet scent is a huge lift to the gardener loathe to end the year in fall (
Hamamelis virginiana) or eager to begin in late winter (spring blooming H. vernalis and hybrids H. x mollis).