Garden Talk: Design, Books, Tools, Shop

Show me your garden, 
and I shall tell you who you are.
Alfred Austin

I visited a garden last week,
 it was more of a discovery walk,
and the result was magical. 

I looked closely.
I looked for the magic.
I looked for the music.

And I found it.

I was inspired to take a fresh look and discover my own garden after seeing the wonderful creations of local garden designer, Maude Odgers. I wrote about Maude here and am lucky enough to have her creative expertise in our garden.

As I wandered through her gardens to the beautiful violin music of Tara Novak I started to think of gardens I have enjoyed over the years and what makes them so special. This is a train of thought you might enjoy too.

What is it about a garden that resonates with you? I like to see personality in a garden, I want to feel emotion and walk away grateful to have been in a sacred space. It doesn't have to be grand...just a hint of something...a depth and love shown by the person who designed it and cares for it.

It may be that it takes me back to my grandmothers beach side garden or reminds me of my father's affection for his veggie garden. It could take me back to England or around Australia and New Zealand or to a lotus garden in all the places where I once tended a garden.

It's personal, for the gardener and the one fortunate enough to wander through it. If someones heart and soul is in a garden, you will feel it.

I like gardening-
it's a place where I find myself 
when I need to lose myself.
Alice Sebold

In Maude's garden, I feel like I am
romancing storybooks..the ones I love.

If you have a garden and a library,
you have everything you need.
 Marcus Tullius Cicero

Maude is an artist, painter, writer, avid reader, 
gardener and much more.  She does them all with passion
and it shows in her garden.

A garden is a grand teacher. 
It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; 
it teaches industry and thrift; 
above all it teaches entire trust.
 Gertrude Jekyll

Maude's Garden

I wandered through Maude's garden several times, quietly 
and within no time I was with Frances Hodgson Burnett 
in her pages of The Secret Garden and in another spot...

through the pages of Beatrix Potter...
half expecting Peter Rabbit to pop out of the garden patch

or Mr. Jeremy Fisher to splash into the water feature. 

There is whimsy

there is magic

and there is music

Maude's Garden

Everything that slows us down and forces patience, 
everything that sets us back into
the slow circle of nature, is a help. 
Gardening is an instrument of grace.
May Sarton

After visiting Maude's garden, 
I spent time in my own garden, digging, 
weeding, snipping, hauling...
and catching it in different light. 

Tahilla Farm Garden

Hummingbirds, monarch butterflies, 
dragonflies and bees are having 
a grand old time in our garden.

Monarch Butterfly in the garden

The flower garden beds and view to a mountain

Under the Studio window

and old Mr. Gnome who has
been guiding us since our first summer
at Tahilla Farm in 2013 is still with us.

I love that he is carrying a book..
a sign of Tahilla Gatherings to come. ;)

To the woodland walk

 I remember every stone, every tree, 
the scent of heather...
Even when the thunder growled in the distance, 
and the wind swept up the valley in fitful gusts, 
oh, it was beautiful, home sweet home.
Beatrix Potter

I am continuing my Summer Favorites, 
you can find the first list HERE

First off, if you haven't discovered Margaret Roach's book, 
A Way to Garden, you must, HERE . I went along to
hear her speak at our local bookshop yesterday
and she was FANTASTIC! A wealth of knowledge, she 
made me appreciate the world we live in even more.
Her website is full of gardening tips, recipes and news as is her
podcast. The latest podcast on beecology is fascinating. 

In my garden tool bucket..

I call them my miracle snippers-
I never snip a flower without them.

How many gardening gloves can one person have?
Not enough if you tend to lose them like me. 
These fit beautifully and are too pretty to lose!

I first discovered the tip bag in England
and it has been a staple in my garden 
ever since. I suggest more than one
as they have a way of disappearing.
I don't know how...

From Amazon

This came highly recommended
by my gardening friend, Joe Valentine.
This was my first attempt...don't look to
closely, but I was was pretty pleased that they
were still standing by the time I finished!

This is a handy tool that I have 
with me at all times. I managed
to lose it last summer...I am convinced 
it is buried in the mulch pile which
I have no interest in exploring (deer ticks).
I ordered a new one...
and I am keeping
a watchful eye. 

This little beauty will leave no weed unturned.
It's me and my weeding sickle all the way!

This has been a lifesaver for several years.
Mr. H bumped me up to the larger size 
(medium shown) and I am glad he did. 
Everything goes in here,
it's light and easy to move around. 
I love it!

I must not forget my Wooden Garden Trug 
mentioned in my earlier post, here

That sums up a few of my favorite gardening tools this season.
The summer's not over yet, there may be more!

and lastly...

The book I featured in my first photo is 

Synopsis via Frances Mayes

Kit Raine, an American writer living in Tuscany, is working on a biography of her close friend, a complex woman who continues to cast a shadow on Kit's own life. Her work is waylaid by the arrival of three women- Julia, Camille, and Susan- all of whom have launched a recent and spontaneous friendship that will uproot them completely and redirect their lives. Susan, the most adventurous of the three, has enticed them to subvert expectations of staid retirement by taking a lease on a big, beautiful house in Tuscany. Though novices in a foreign culture, their renewed sense of adventure imbues each of them with a bright sense of bravery, a gusto for life, and a fierce determination to thrive. But how? With Kit's friendship and guidance, the three friends launch themselves into Italian life, pursuing passions long forgotten- and with drastic and unforeseeable results.

I am making my second attempt with this book and am happy to say that I have made it past the sticking point and am well and truly into it. The book has me thinking of Tuscany, cooking and sharing great food, drinking Italian rosé wine,  running through the markets, popping into cafe's and thinking about olive oil in a new light. There is lot more to happen but so far....I am enjoying the ride. Tuscany anyone?

Best wishes for a wonderful week....hope you have a chance to enjoy a garden or two!

Jeanne xx

PS..if you have any thoughts and would life to write to me...


  1. Here in New Zealand it is winter, and currently I have a lovely pile of garden books inspiring me. I have purchased dahlia tubers for hopefully a prolific amount of blooms. A book I enjoyed is: The Writer's Garden: how gardens inspired out best loved authors by Jackie Bennett.
    That quote about a library and garden is so true.

  2. Thank you for the recommends and links. The White Flower Farm's Sea Grass Nesting Pocket is beautiful!

  3. I love all of your postings dear Jeanne..........Thanks for everything you share.
    Much love

  4. Jeanne, although I love gardens, visiting them and enjoying them I am not a gardener. I have great luck with my containers, over many years of trial and error I have managed to find a variety that I love, that look good and that survive. It has been a joy to follow along here and on Instagram and watch your farm grown and change. IT is magical. You are inspiring me to branch out(no pun intended) and explore new plants, and flowers and try something new next year.

    Thank you for sharing your farm, your finds and you! Have a wonderful day Jeanne.

  5. When I was younger, I was not fond of plants or gardens but not I just love being in them. Our is more of a yard than a garden because we have a lot of tiles and not much soil. To make up, we have lots of plants in pots but our summers are so harsh that it's a huge chore to keep them alive. So I'm always looking forward to cooler days and rain. Your garden is beautiful and I am sure that your recommendations will be very useful in the future.

  6. Thank you, Jeanne, for the kind words on the book -- and for coming Saturday to the Toad event. Glad you enjoyed it. I got to visit Maude's afterward and it was magical. --Margaret

  7. Lucky you meeting Margaret in person. I follow her and love her posts - and podcasts - she shares a lot of amazing gardening help - I just wish I still had the stamina to keep up with my own! I must buy her book soon.

    Maude's Garden is awesome - what a lovely place to spend a summer afternoon - and with real music.
    Some lovely garden quotes too - I so love people who share their thoughts on nature and gardens.

    Great views of your own beautiful garden and land Jeanne - I'm getting excited!
    Busy this week lots to get taken care of prior to our trip.
    Mary X

  8. Hmm it seems like your blog ate my first comment (it was
    super long) so I guess I'll just sum it up what I wrote and say,
    I'm thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am
    an aspiring blog writer but I'm still new to everything.
    Do you have any tips for newbie blog writers?
    I'd really appreciate it.

  9. Thank you Jeanne for your kind words about my garden. I’m touched. I also use all the garden tools you mentioned. Margaret Roach’s first edition of A Way to Garden was one of my first gardening books when I began gardening. This new one is even better: rich with helpful information and beautiful photos of her magical garden. I highly recommend it. And if you want to hear more Tara Novak visit her website or you can find her YouTube. She is lovely and talented beyond belief. I was honored to have her in our garden for the Monadnock Music tour. Again, thank you Jeanne for this lovely post and for featuring my garden as part of it!


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