From Seed to Flower, Meeting Garden Designer Xa Tollemache

One of the pleasures of living is experiencing those moments when the past connects with the present. It’s like returning to a seed sown and finding a flower. You know, those instances when you say to yourself, “I understand.”

Five or so years ago I discovered garden designer Xa Tollemache while touring Castle Hill in North Devon, England. She designed the Millennium Garden there and I was an immediate fan. I admire her sense of proportion and scale and her ability to create visually compelling patterns with plants that carpet the ground.

Skip forward to spring 2011 and there I am introducing myself to Xa at a fundraiser in New York. After following her work for so many years, the moment was a little bit surreal. I was delighted when she came to Arkansas to speak at the Clinton School of Public Service and tickled pink to host a dinner party for her at the Garden Home Retreat.

It wasn’t until I was back in England visiting her home, Helmingham Hall, that I recognized the flower borne of the seed sown so many years ago. Surrounded by the graceful gardens she designed, I was transported back to the Millennium Garden at Castle Hill. The path from past to present was clear and I said to myself, “I understand.”

9 Responses to From Seed to Flower, Meeting Garden Designer Xa Tollemache

  1. Lisa L. says:

    These are what I like to call the “red thumb tacks on the map of life” that mark those stops along the way that make an impressionable impact on who we are and where we are going. God knows who we need and when we need them, and the special connection we will have with them in the future.

  2. Cindy Menn says:

    I have been an avid viewer of your show ever since it began airing on my local PBS station. This past July, my sister and I toured your home and gardens. From the moment I spotted your gate houses I was elated. I had watched them being built. The aspects of your home and gardens have become like characters in a story to me. I knew them long before I “met” them. Each aspect of Moss Mountain Farm merges to create an environment that is comfortable and yet inspiringly beautiful. You have planted many seeds in the fertile soil of your readers and viewers. And, we are blooming everywhere!…Thank you!

  3. meerah tomkiewicz says:

    After working with abused children all day and many years I needed to reposses my soul. The answer on a 5by 9 ft balcony- Vertical Gardening. Your show provides me with delight. Can you do anything discussing vertical gardening?

    • Cindy Menn says:

      Meerah, I saw something neat for vertical gardening at a nursery two weeks ago. They had a wall covered in these brown wool pockets that were filled with soil and the pockets had plants growing out of them. The pockets were each about 12×16 inches and had grommets at the top so they could be hung up on a wall. Some of them had 3 pockets attatched vertically for a cascade of plants. The saleslady said they could be washed and reused. I’m going to try sewing some of my own.

    • Shelly says:

      Check out Life on the Balcony on Facebook. The apartment dweller devised a vertical planting, using wooden pallets. A neat idea and not too hard.

  4. Barbara Hodges says:

    We love your blogs, design suggestions and inspirational comments. Thank you so much.

  5. Linda L. says:

    Yes, you do understand. Well done.

  6. Condolences on the passing of Lucky. We also had a Lucky who passed 8 years ago and we still miss him. Although we do enjoy the company of our two rescue dogs, Toby–golden samoyd mix, and Wiley–border collie, aussie mix and???- so pretty and mixed that even the vet is confused.

    Live in Michigan in zone 5–but I think it is more 4.5—sandy soil, dry, windy, and I do my best to garden in this gardeners mightmare….but I do love to play in the dirt (soil!)

  7. Also—good movie is The Help

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