How Does Your Garden Grow?

As the winter’s earth thaws this month, a deep, rich scent is present, filled with the promise of spring. It is one of my favorite olfactory memories as the damp, fresh soil always reminds me of the newness of spring and my much loved English garden. Then come the telltale signs of snowdrops and crocus, daffodils and hyacinths, with green heads springing forth through the softening soil. Spring is here! 

The English Garden

Having grown up in Manhattan on the sixth floor of a ‘pre-war”, I was devoid of any daily interaction with soil other than that found in nearby Central Park or any potted plants I might own.

When I moved to England in my 20’s, I was quickly seduced by the British passion for gardening. Those beautiful walks through Hyde Park, constantly changing flower beds, and, the star of the season, The Royal Chelsea Flower Show. It just takes your breath away.

And each year, the advent of spring heralds the long awaited invitation to the coming season of bulbs and blooms. 

Royal Chelsea Flower Show 2022
Royal Chelsea Flower Show 2017
Royal Chelsea Flower Show 2022
Royal Chelsea Flower Show 2023

Images of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Photo Credit: Jamie Lorriman / Luke MacGregor / RHS / Oliver Dixon

My Beginnings In The Garden

A few short years after arriving in London, I found myself the owner of a lovely English home with a beautiful old garden that had been neglected for over a decade. It needed love and resuscitation. I, with my self decreed learners permit for gardening, decided I was just the one to take up the challenge.

In any garden, however large or small, whether a potted garden on a terrace or rooftop or a garden with room to roam, one must start with a clear and clean vision. Just like an Interior Design Project.

My garden was a tiered garden. Not too big to tackle for a newbie, but a bit of an adventure as so much had been hidden for 20 years under overgrowth, undergrowth and felled trees.

Through tireless passion and great effort (or is it great passion and tireless effort), something a gardener must have in spades along with wheelbarrows full of patience and fortitude, the clearing was completed and the bones of the property were able to be seen. It included a Koi Pond and an old forgotten Green House as well as stone and brick steps and walls. It was magical.


Kenwood Wood Lane St George
Kenwood Wood Lane St George
Kenwood Wood Lane St George
Kenwood Wood Lane St George

Creating An Eden

Once cleared, the vision appeared. I saw outdoor rooms within the landscape, meanderings that would become hallways, existing pathways that formed beds, and green walls that would be defined by Yew, Copper Beech and Rhododendron. I also envisioned a potted garden on the back steps that would offer kitchen herbs and seasonal flowers close to the back door.

Through Andy, my gardener and Gertrude Jeckyll, the Patron Saint of English Gardening, I was introduced and fell in love with a retinue of flowering plants including Hostas and Helabores, Iris and Ceonothus, Centaura Montana and Delphinium and my favorite: Agapanthus. Of course, we always began with the early spring snowdrops, crocus, narcissus (daffodils), hyacinth and muscari as well as structural staples of roses, azaleas, rhododendrons and boxwoods.

The architecture of the garden decorated the winter months as well. Boxwood and baretrees look beautiful covered in frost. For structure, a knot garden was added along with pleached ornamental pear trees to anchor the bottom layer and espaliered climbing hydrangea installed along the rock walls, and wisteria along the exterior of the house and by the pool.

Every Season was different. Each was long awaited and treasured. Especially the first flowers of spring.


Kenwood, Wood Lane, St. George
English Lawn And Boxwood Garden
Wisteria On The Wall
English Garden
White Hydrangea
Acer Tree, English Garden
Daffodils In The Spring

My English Garden brought hours of joy to all who spent time there and certainly great pleasure to me through each element of the process of learning, planting and enjoying the garden. It is my great fortune that it continues to provide me with such each and every time the daffodils start to press through the fresh spring earth in Connecticut in March.

How To Get Started

For me, gardening is equal parts physical, intellectual, intuitive and meditative. The result is an experience that invites both solitude and peace as well as camaraderie and joy through the admiration of the fruits of ones’ labour.

There are so many ways to create and enjoy a garden, whether it is a small potted garden, a kitchen garden or a larger bed or space. As you ponder over which style of garden--or which types of plants you'd like to bring into your home, consider these key points:

1) Make sure you bring in plants and colors that you love and that will bloom in a season when you are home to enjoy them, not when you are away. 

2) Choose plants that require the same amount of care that you are able to provide. 

3) Make sure you have on hand the right tools, pots and gloves so that what you create is both beautiful and pleasurable whether it is potted or planted. 

4) And, remember, always buy bulbs or plants from reputable sources wherever you lived.

Some of our favorite tools and gloves:

Gardening Through The Seasons: When To Plant Your Garden

For those who have their own gardens blooming with daffodils and crocus, may you enjoy them over the next few weeks. To those who do not, put a note in your calendar for September 2024 to purchase bulbs for planting in October or November.

Having said that, there are still blooming options for spring and summer 2024! It isn’t too late! You can still plant certain bulbs quickly for a late bloom such as tulips, or order bare root roses for planting which will bring you months of color throughout the summer and into the autumn.

The roses I always chose were white hybrids: Princess of Wales or Pope John Paul II (in the US I used Pope John Paul II, in the UK I used Princess of wales). White roses are supposed to have fewer thorns – better for cutting them and bringing them into the house.

To those who are impatient and want blooms instantaneously, think about buying some potted tulips, roses or peonies that are in 1 gallon or 3 liter pots. They will then come back again next year, as long as you choose blooms that are right for your zone and care for them minimally

Spring is here!

Reputable Sources:

Roses, Peonies, Iris, Delphinium, Daffodils, etc.:

Jackson & Perkins -


David Austin Roses –

My Newest Garden Finds

fresh plants and bulbs
fresh tulips
fresh plants and bulbs
fresh plants and bulbs