Sep 19, 2010

Never Be Limited By Good Taste: Sakonnet

Never Be Limited
By Good Taste
Sakonnet Garden
John Gwynne
Mikel Folcarelli

Metro Hort
September 15, 2010

The Rake's Progress: 
Experiments in Reconciling Plant Collecting
and Design at Sakonnet. 

Every gardener can relate to the design vs. collecting dilemma.  You want it ALL.   In the "old" days,
I coveted every plant I saw.  Things are different now. 
I want it all, but I've learned this doesn't work; so have Gwynne and Folcarelli.  At Sakonnet, their garden in coastal Rhode Island, they've turned their passion for collecting into a series of garden spaces.

John and Mikel are in the creative business and  they look at their garden, as they look at a painting.  Who plants a garden to look like a Bonnard painting?  Who creates a garden "room" so that every plant will be backlit? The owners of Sakonnet do.

John articulated some principles of his garden design.

1.  Create an Experience
2.  Divide Space
3.  Layer your garden
4.  Don't reveal everything at once
5.  Texture is more important than you think
6.  Lighting is powerful
7.  Never forget about Fun in the garden

These two plant collectors are now in the editing phase.  As John said, the garden is "too small for our dreams, and too large to maintain." But they still want it all.  They already have "controlled nature and now they want to create nature without the hand of man being obvious.  They are currently working on a wildflower meadow.  I too find myself gravitating toward the uncontrolled, the "natural" and the romantic.

It's hard lesson when you realize that nature may be the best designer of all.