On the theory that our readers should have occasional relief from my dreadful work with a camera, we’ve asked photographer Rich Pomerantz to do a guest rant for us. Rich’s book Great Gardens of the Berkshires has just been published, and it features delightful and inspiring private gardens, as well as the institutional heavy-hitters like like The Mount.
Tom Gardner’s wall
Like many visitors to well made gardens, I sometimes see things when I am photographing gardens that I think could be adapted for my own garden. I had such an experience when I visited Tom Gardner’s garden in Richmond, MA, to scout it for Great Gardens of the Berkshires, my new book with author Virginia Small.
Tom is one of those people who does nothing in half-measures. His garden is to a great extent about color (any flower that dares to display a bloom that clashes with his mustard color house is ruthlessly ripped out), but it’s also a shameless display of extraordinary masonry: fieldstone walls and terraces that must be passed through to get to the gardens that wrap around the house. There is an element worked into some of the walls that caught and held my attention – his candle boxes. These are relatively small insets built into the undulating walls, each maybe 10×10 inches, sporadically spaced around the patio. I just loved them.
So the year after I first saw Tom’s walls, my wife and I decided to tie together my downhill studio garden to our uphill deck and kitchen garden area, by creating a two-level patio with undulating stone walls into which I just had to incorporate – you guessed it – candle boxes. Although I have yet to put candles into them, I have a small special variegated agave in a pot in one and an antique stone hammer in another.
I showed my stone mason some images from Tom’s garden and away he went. Too late I thought it would have been really cool to have had him build these spaces in other shapes, like maybe an arch, or even a circle, since the circle is a design theme of our garden. Maybe in the next wall we build…..