Wednesday, October 3, 2007

What is it about Edna?

I can't remember now where I first heard of Edna Walling, but I own most of her books now. The ABC has a comprehensive Walling site, including her beautiful garden plans.

What made her gardens exceptional? The ABC site doesn't really go into this. To me, the magic of Walling lies in her ability to conceal. Firstly, she hides the ugly. She definitely believed in hiding the workaday parts of the back yard from the rest (who wants to look at work when they are relaxing?). Contrast the detail in the "garden" parts of the Ledger plan, and the lack of detail in the "working" areas. Note also that the fences are almost invariably hidden behind shrubs.

Secondly, she hides parts of the garden from each other. See, for example, the bottom right corner of the house on the Oldham plan. The steps that curve around the house are invisible from the lawn until you are almost at the fountain. The fountain is large and formal, designed to be the centre of attention. The little steps surprise with their modesty and informality as well as their location.

The more Walling drawings you look at, the more you see similar surprises. What surprises are there in your garden? Or does it keep all its goods in the shop window?


Anonymous said...

Thank you for introducing us to Edna. What a great lady and a great Gardening Guru.

Best of luck with your blog. It appears to be interesting. I will look forward to your summer musings while we here in SW Indiana, USA are in the midst of winter.

Lisa at Greenbow

Chookie said...

Thank you, Lisa! I'm hoping to post more about Edna Walling later, when I understand her more.