Bone structure

maple musclesIt is generally acknowledged that the difference between being temporarily pretty and eternally beautiful has something to do with bone structure. Like our own skin, which may or may not be wrapped around a Katherine Hepburn-esque skeleton, our garden hangs on its bones too. But although no plastic surgeon is truly capable of changing those of us unlikely to age gracefully, I think it is possible for everyone to have a garden every bit as timelessly handsome as, say, Gregory Peck. All we need, aside from a plan, is … time. Plus patience. (Isn’t it interesting that, when it comes to standards of beauty in a garden, age is usually a benefit rather than a liability?)

nut grove bonesweeping beech path bones

It’s easy to recognize an eternally beautiful garden. During the height of a colorful summer, you might not even be aware of why it’s so beautiful. But over the winter it hits you that the garden is every bit as stunning, stark-raving naked. Some properties (like Blithewold) are sublimely situated and while, like the curl in one’s hair, that’s definitely part of beauty, it’s not the be-all and end-all. What the garden really needs is structure within its perimeter and view to keep it from being as boneless and boring as our cutting bed in winter. It needs permanent elements – trees with muscles, rocks maybe, buildings (most of us have a house in the middle of our garden if not a garage and sheds too), and some might say to include a water feature – anything worth looking at even after the summer’s skin is shed. And those features should fit the scale of the garden’s face like expressive eyebrows and chiseled cheeks.

Camperdown elm and the Summerhousenut grove bones

The last leaves haven’t even fallen yet but I’m already jazzed to think about Gregory Peck – I mean the gardens’ bone structure. The Display Garden still has a ways to go before it’s truly handsome in its own right but now it’s much easier to see what it needs. — My own garden at home cries out for eternal beauty too and there is where my patience will be truly tested: Good bones take such a long time to build.

boneless Display Garden

Does your garden have good bone structure? Do you have plan(t)s to improve it?

5 thoughts on “Bone structure

  1. Hi Kris,
    Taking a (short) breath before going back out..my garden right now looks more like miss haversham, but I so agree,,,the silouette of the trees, the buds already formed, the amazing bark that you just don’t see in the (heat) of the summer…its a great month…I opened your blog to find the entry about the terrarium making–the pic with the cute glass boots…what month was it/ thanks

    Norma, “Miss Haversham”! Hilarious. Will you be giving terrariums as Christmas presents? I wish I could get away with giving them again… The post is here (I wrote it 2 years ago, October!) -kris

  2. Well, are we talking about Roman Holiday Gregory Peck or are we looking at Cape Fear Gregory Peck? We’ve got Roman Holiday and Cape Fear: While the large rock I moved has perfected a vignette involving a bench at the end of a path, under natural arbor formed by my crabapple, but my sad looking shed is looking even sadder this year.

    We’ve got potential here, but it will be a few years coming. There’s nothing like winter to point out that your garden needs more evergreens.

    Too true about seeing the need for evergreens, Susan. And I have to admit to only thinking of Mr. Bradley – Blithewold is that kind of debonair. I’ll have to add Cape Fear to my movie list to see his resemblance to my own garden. I have a shed probably like yours – but no perfected vignettes yet, alas… (I wish I could see pictures of yours – I’m more and more intrigued!) -kris

  3. Beautiful, Kris! Blithewold has some amazing trees and truly great bones. The Slaterville garden, not so much. We have a few big nice trees and a lot of rocks though :) One day there will be dwarf conifers, pathways, and a little orchard…

    Lynn, Even though your garden was wearing its beautiful skin when I saw it, I could tell it had excellent bones. But I’m with you on your “one day” list – I love the orchard idea especially! -kris

  4. p.s. Your nods to GP & Susan’s comment are hilarious. When I was a budding writer, I wanted to write a film for Gregory Peck to star in. No one tops Atticus!

    Joe Bradley makes my heart go pitterpat. But then Atticus breaks it. (Wonder what the Cape Fear GP will do to me…) -kris

  5. What a lovely diversion your blog is….It’s always a treat to visit Blithewold through your photos. And what is it about Gregory Peck?…I’ve had a crush on him since TKAM came out, and I see I’m not alone. A wonderful holiday to you and Gail and your loved ones.

    Thanks, Kathy! Anytime you can sneak away for a real actual in-the-flesh visit, come on by and we’ll put the kettle on. Happy Holidays to you and yours too! -kris

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