Favorite Gardens: Winkworth Arboretum

As the winter keeps us in a deep freeze here in upstate New York, I’m longing for a sign of spring. While I can’t see into the future, I can take a peek into the past by revisiting photos of a special place I visited last year.

Winkworth Arboretum, in Godalming, Surrey (bonus points if you can pronounce that), is known for its tree and shrub collection as well as for the bluebell and azalea display in spring. I was lucky to visit in late April to catch the spectacular “bluebell moment.”

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Favorite Gardens: Great Dixter

It’s hard to underestimate the impact the gardens of Great Dixter have had on the field of horticulture and garden design. For more than 80 years, Christopher Lloyd (1921–2006) lived on the property, and nearly all his adult life was devoted to gardening there and writing about his experience. His commitment to the land and the plants themselves made what would have been another lovely English garden into something intimate, timeless, and extraordinary. These photos are from a visit in May 2014.

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What Do You Say When You Meet a 4,000-Year-Old Tree?

Crowhurst Yew

Crowhurst Yew: Doorway to Stillness

What do you say when you meet a 4,000-year-old tree?

“You don’t look a day over 2,000!” Which, it turns out, might be a more accurate age for the Crowhurst Yew and many of the other gnarled specimens that dot the English countryside. 

A visit to this stunning, understated giant at St. George’s Church in Crowhurst, Surrey, on a rare sunny English day, was like stepping back in time (except for the constant airplane traffic above). 

Sitting at the door of this tree, and stepping into its hollow center with reverence, was an experience in slowing down. It required dialing back the forward momentum of life to just be with this venerable living thing that has been around for, well, a long time. But exactly how long? Four thousand years seems rather long.

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