- Mass in C minor
- Classical Music
- Jazz and Pop Music
- Film/Theater Music
- Advertising Music
- Fry Street Quartet
- Gardening at Bogmoor
- Seasonal Tours
- High Spring
- Essays on Gardening
- Remove all roses from the garden. They're just too
much trouble. If you want to see them in bloom, go to
England. They look great there.
- Remove all man made objects that weigh less than 500
pounds from the garden. Try to garden tchotchke free
- Stop reading Penelope Hobhouse for good.
- Get rid of at least 51% of everything you've
planted. Be honest — most of it's not working.
- Cut down a maple tree and plant something else.
- For heaven's sake, stop worrying about the lawn.
Don't fertilize it anymore. Just mow it and watch for a
much more horticulturally interesting result.
- Cancel all your garden magazine subscriptions.
little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
- Willfully skip a garden club meeting and weed
- At every sundown, take in hand heavy gauge loppers
and go about whacking vine wherever you see it
- Steal dumb sundials that don't work from your
friends' gardens and throw them in the dumpster behind
Stop and Shop.
Click on image to see it in high
resolution. Image size is 699K.
The yellow groove bamboo (phyllostachys
aureosulcata) that we cultivate in our garden grows
to about thirty feet in one season. Some of it can be
harvested each year and used to make trellises. The
trellises are drilled, pegged and tied together. The
smaller outer branches not used in trellis making can be
trimmed and used as excellent pea stakes.
Bamboo is highly rot resistant if kept out of
the soil. My method is to secure the trellis by bracing it
about a foot away from the wall to which it is attached.
This allows for air space between the plants and the wall.
The trellis can easily be removed when a wall needs to be
painted. Rather than placing the base of the trellis into
the ground, I drive sturdy metal stakes (rebar, or black
pipe) into the ground and slip the hollow bamboo onto the
stakes. This, along with the top braces, will keep the
trellis secure against wind, snow, and ice.
My idea is to improvise designs according to
the size and shape of the bamboo selected. Though they are
stylistically similar, no two are ever exactly alike.
Trellises made in this fashion offer thematically
coordinated structures that are unique and personal in the
garden, rather than the ubiquitous, mass produced items
found at garden shops.
— T. McFaul
Click on image
to see it in high resolution. Image size is 416K.
A stick is the perfect accessory for walks in the garden.
When we work in the garden we always have something in our
hands: a rake, pruning shears, a shovel, loppers, a saw. A
stick is a useful thing to have in hand when we simply
walk in the garden. When we're in our own garden the stick
says "Just stroll now, ramble and observe." Many
of us spend too much time working and not enough time just
being in our garden; flaws, weeds, unfinished projects and
When visiting a friend's garden, a stick can
be used to point at a plant when asking a question, or
just to admire something specific. With a stick, one can
lift the heads of shy blooms like hellebores, trillium, or
the unusual daffodil hybrid that has collapsed in the last
A stick can be used to scoot away a branch or
twig that is in your way on a woodland walk, or to push
away a rose cane without using your hand. With a stick,
you can lift canopy out of the way, push away wet foliage
you do not wish to come in contact with, sketch an idea in
Above all, a stick just feels good. It's
something to hold on to that symbolizes the too infrequent
times we allow ourselves to be masters rather than
servants of the garden. Of course, with a stick you can
always stab a slug, or push a dandelion head into the
ground. So it's just another tool after all.
All these sticks are homemade. Each has a
tiny personality, an individual quality you won't find
among those mass produced and sold in stores or catalogs.
We keep a collection of sticks to pass out to guests for
walks in the garden.
Click on the image to see it in
Gardening in the macrocosm has been my greatest passion
for some years, but I find a great deal of satisfaction
can come from designing and executing a garden in one
square foot as opposed to one acre. Miniature gardens in
small troughs may inspire others to explore this
microcosm. Scaled-down worlds of wee alpines, stones, and
conifers in carpets of moss will be used to create the
varied themes of garden places in tiny spaces.
— E. McFaul
June 8, 2003, was an extraordinary day at Bogmoor. From
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., nine hundred people
visited the garden. When the Westport Historical Society
asked us to be on their tour back in March, we had no idea
there would be so many in the garden. There were about a
half dozen helpers, docents, stationed all around the
garden, along with a traffic cop in the street, directing
parking. No vehicles were allowed onto the property. The
Historical Society's volunteers are a fine group of people
— almost exclusively women. It seems that American
men have not yet taken up gardening in large numbers, as
they do in England or Italy. Men here are still playing
golf. Golf and gardening do not mix well.
There wasn't a ray of sunshine all day long,
though it didn't rain. In a way, the muted light of an
overcast day enhances the garden, especially during the
harsh light of midday, when most garden tours are given.
Tours are always scheduled from 10:00 a.m. to
5:00 p.m. If you want to see a garden properly, the
hours should be 5:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Then
close the garden and reopen it from 6:00 p.m. to
9:00 p.m. Those are the hours when all gardens look
best. Then one sees the long light, the shadows, the
definition of the place. It is similar to observing the
moon with a telescope. The worst time to observe the moon
is when it is full. When the moon is full, there are no
shadows, there is far less definition, much like high noon
in the garden. One best observes the moon in its phases,
when the jagged edge of its cusp shows the shadows of its
mountains, rills, and impact craters.
We've had so much rain that we've put down
several bales of hay and straw on the back paths to keep
them passable. But on tour day Bogmoor lived up to its
name. With all the traffic, parts of the back paths turned
into a cow yard. I told the docents to discourage visitors
toward this part of the garden. Throughout the day, the
docents kept reporting back to me, "I tell them not
to go back there, but they insist." I took the back
paths myself midday, at the insistence of a docent, and
found places where I was ankle deep in mud. There was a
courageous, eighty-year-old woman behind me, smiling all
the way. I don't think she was just being nice; I think
she was enjoying the adventure, the journey. She had the
right foot gear anyway. Fundamentally it seems the best
people to have in your garden are the very old and the
We had many children in the garden. Children
get everything right away, without being told a thing.
They explore, without being asked to do so. When adults
importune politely, "Show me your garden," I
never know what to do. Here's a path, that's a plant, we
could go here, we could go there. I feel as if I am simply
an object in front of them, obstructing their view.
Children never ask, they explore on their own, find
everything, and get the whole thing right away. Hundreds
of children have been in our garden over the years, and
not one has ever been destructive in any way. I think
children spend most of their time being told what to do,
by their parents, by their teachers, etc. When they are in
my garden I don't need to tell them what to do. They do
what I want without being asked. They sit on the benches,
they swing in the swing, they drink the lemonade, they get
down on their knees and look at the details. They see
It was a wonderful day. Many visitors
expressed their positive feelings about the garden, some
in extraordinary, articulate language. I had the sense
that people were genuinely glad to be in the garden, that
they thought it worthy of their attention, that they felt
good in it. Of course I understand that those who might
have found it less than pleasing would probably not be
inclined to share that with me. No one ever comes up and
says "Ya know, this garden really sucks." Tour
day allowed talking to only a small number of people, even
though Ellen and I were out there all day long.
I don't know of any environment where people
are more kindly disposed toward one another than in a
garden. Nearly a thousand people were here on tour day,
yet there was not a shred of human detritus left behind.
No candy wrappers, no cigarette butts, not a scrap of
cellophane, no empties, all little lemonade cups disposed
of in the proper waste basket. We did not have to clean up
after anyone. Our garden has been on many tours, and this
good behavior is always evident. The people who visit
gardens are by and large a careful and respectful lot.
The most common questions are "What do
you do about deer?" "What's the name of that
plant?" Along with "Oh, it must require so much
work, do you do it yourselves?" These are tiresome
questions, but ones that must be answered over and over
again, all day long. Yet among this large group, there
were many who shared personal observations, emotional or
aesthetic feelings that were astute and genuine, a joy to
hear. I wish I could remember the words. There were things
said that I would like to have written down.
Bogmoor is our garden. We do it for
ourselves. It is nothing less than an unending, never
complete, always changing folly, that lasts only as long
as we last. Yet it is the greatest work of art that I've
ever had a part in making. It is Ellen and Tom's creation
(folly). Sharing it with others is a pleasing and
rewarding thing to do.
Copyright © 2002–2011, Thomas G. McFaul
Last modified: Wed May 11 09:50:04 EDT 2011
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