The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Ruin Garden when Leaf Peepers Peep

The Leaf Peepers are back. Swarms of the them in town this past weekend. I went for a quiet hike up North Pack Monadnock, a small 2183 footer near town, on Sunday morning. I arrived at the trail head at the same moment as a group of dozen or so Japanese tourists unloaded from their cars. I had forgotten how busy the first half of October can get in New Hampshire.

I took these pictures of the Ruin Garden at Teixeira Park on my way out of town for my hike. The granite blocks of the garden wall contrast dramatically against the foliage of the trees on the other side of the Nubanusit River while the flower heads of Calamagrostis brachytricha wave elegantly in the breeze. The seed heads of all the composite flowers: the echinaceas, rudbeckias and heleniums are finally beginning to attract the birds we were hoping for.


  1. Michael,
    I find myself craving to see some plantings outside the stone circle. (I'd kill for that stone, even a part of it.)

  2. James,

    You are not the first person to say that. We have debated adding another layer on the outside. So far, we haven't for several reasons: cost and maintenance concerns are at the top of the list. The design of the inside has paths, seating and gardens which encourage children to romp over the walls without fear of damaging plants so any outer garden needs to have paths along the walls so children can still climb on and over them.

    There is also something exciting about seeing the plants from the outside but not being able to experience the garden without entering that "sacred, if you will" space. It can be magical to be called inside. The visitor has to make an effort to enjoy it and all it's pleasures which are not easily given away. Sometimes I find the strength of the unencumbered walls somehow reassuring. I'm not sure if these qualities would be diminished with plants on the outside.

    On the other have certainly made me want reevaluate adding plantings on the outside. I hope to be working on the gardens in the parks for a while longer and we will keep thinking of ways to add layers to enhance the parks in the future as time and resources allow.

    I really appreciate your constructive criticism. Thank you very much.



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