The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Two Weddings and No Funeral

The Archway in the Ruin Garden

Coreopsis, Pentsemon, Butterfly Weed and Honeysuckle Vines beginning to bloom

A Nice Place for a White Wedding

The Ruin Garden at Teixeira Park has been the setting for at least two weddings in the last year I am told. West Peterborough has just undergone a revitalization and Teixeira Park is the now crown jewel of that part of town. The Ruin Garden was installed in 2007 and is now starting to settle down and is beginning to get the patina of age to its granite structure.

I think of Teixeira Park as the "wild" park in Peterborough. It abuts the Nubanusit River and we designed it to attract birds and butterflies. There are many fruit bearing trees and shrubs (crab apples, vibirnums, shadblows and dogwoods) to attract birds. Honeysuckles are now in bloom to coax the hummingbirds to their nectar. The pentsemons should bring both hummers and butterflies. Later in the season, the garden should be teaming with butterflies as the sedums, butterfly weeds, asters, liatris, goldenrods, oreganos, heleniums, solidagos and Verbena bonariensis take center stage.
Ron Higgins designed the granite wall to be inviting to children to play on. I have witnessed families reading to their young children on the walls on more than one occasion. What I didn't expect was the Ruin Garden as a wedding chapel but why not? It has a beautiful archway for the wedding couple, seating for the guests and flowers already in bloom just waiting for the wedding party to arrive.


  1. Dear Michael, I am deeply sorry to say that I am able to find very little positive to say about the 'Ruin Garden'. The park in which it sits appears most attractive, specimen trees and broad expanses of grass, whilst it, the RG, is totally unrelated to its surroundings and appears at odds with the landscape in which it finds itself.

    In another context, E.M. Forster wrote, 'Only connect.'; this totally fails to do just that.

  2. Dear Edith,

    Thanks for your comment. I'm sorry you didn't like the Ruin Garden very much. Someone once told me that the best gardeners are opinionated. I think that is very true and sets the stage for some lively debate.

    First off, if nothing else, the planting subscribes to Beth Chatto's rule: the right plant in the right place. That is to say, they are well-tended and planted in a location in which they will thrive. That in itself is major feat in a public planting.

    I think that the garden, although very unconventional, is connected to the genius loci. In this case it is located in aparticular part of of town, West Peterborough, in a state, New Hampshire, in a country, the United States. New Hampshire's motto, in fact is "Live Free or Die."

    The garden has New Hampshire granite that was recycled from the town. The structure was built by a local artist who lives about a block away. The use of recycled granite has been repeated in the park. There are benches and a picnic table that feel very related to the Ruin Garden's structure. It's most important connection is to nature. West Peterborough was once a mill town and has been revitalized in the last decade. When a local mill was renovated into a "green" condominium, it attracted many artists. There has been other new neighborhoods built embracing a new "green', energy-saving philosophy. Having a "wild feeling", yet rather modern and unconventional, park along the river feels right to me.

    One idea that I have debated in my mind is whether to add plantings on the outside of the wall. It might soften the appearance of the Ruin Garden. Then other times when I drive by, I like the way the grass comes right up to the structure. I also like the fact that I don't have another garden to weed!

    Thanks so much for you thoughts on the Ruin Garden. I welcome other comments on whether this garden has any connection to its surroundings and how it might be enhanced.



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