Tasha Tudor started her garden in Vermont nearly fifty years ago, yet brought to it many decades of prior knowledge and experience. It is a very old garden created with much wisdom. Pleasing to the eye, it possesses plants and a purpose beyond visual appeal. She called it “just a good messy garden.”
In spring daffodils, tulips, crabapples, violets and dandelions suffuse with color above new, unmown grass. By June peonies and campanula bloom among an ever rising tide of roses. Most of the plants have a story to tell, a thread of memory or a connection to Tasha’s family.
The blue and white campanula while not rare do not seem to be available in nurseries. They, along with the perennial hollyhocks, came from Tasha’s grandfather.
Some plants are a mystery. The rose growing against the stone wall and a pear tree in the orchard remain unidentified. Tasha sought their names over the years, but did not seem to mind when they were not to be found.
Tasha said: “Because I gardened as a little girl, and my mother and grandmother were passionate gardeners before me, I grew up with flowers, knew them by their look and feel, and called them by all their old colloquial names. Dame’s rocket, sweet William, monkshood, and meadow rue.”
She picked herbs spring and summer for cooking. With a basket and long scissors she collected thyme, sage, a few leaves from the bay tree, parsley and chives for soup, and mint to float in iced tea on hot days on the front porch. Behind the house close to the gate she picked current berries for jam.
Tasha attributed her happiness and longevity to gardening, and spent every possible moment among her plants, and often said that gardening has untold rewards.