The Mitchell Park Domes, Milwaukee, WI. Spring 2012.
Roy installed the entrance plantings.
The Three Domes ( the conservatories) in Mitchell Park are someplace you need to visit at least four times a year. One dome is seasonal, changing its mood of gardens through the year. I was excited when Mary who is part creator and cares for the seasonal dome asked me to design the parallel gardens at their entrance.
I thought why not plant a Hydrangea meadow? I scattered Hydrangea ‘Little Lime’ within the planters and drifted in patterns of Calamintha nepeta ssp. nepeta , Salvia ‘Wesuwe’ and Allium ‘Summer Beauty’. Another perennial plant grouping has Molinia ‘Paul Pederson’, Stachys ‘Hummelo’ and Echinacea purpurea ‘Alba’. I mixed a few Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ and Coreopsis ‘Golden Showers’ for dabs of blue and gold.
The gardens main success is due to Mary and her team of gardeners, they interpret the plantings needs and know when to garden. They are gardeners.
That creates the question what is a gardener? Some would say gardening is another name for yard work. Those are the people who have an agenda, they want to sell you a product to limit yard work. A gardener is someone like you. A person who shares joy with others, knows when a helping hand is appreciated, likes the smell of rain, knows that walking outside is as healthy as any visit to a health club, volunteers in the community, understands the life in soil, water and air, is patient with the views of other people, is strengthened by relationships, feels alone indoors, digs in the soil and pauses to crumble and smell the earth, stops a child from crushing all bugs, I see right now that is who you are. You are a gardener. When you come to know the plants, they will come to know you. In some way that also sounds like friendship.