The Wild Gardeners: A Damp Seaside Garden


If you are as plant crazy as me, I am sure that you too are already deep into thoughts, plans and daydreams about the garden season ahead. So I thought it was about time to kick off my new blog series: The Wild Gardeners. This is a project that has been romaging around in my head for at least 2-3 years now. One of the things that inspire me most in my garden is to see other gardens. I will always find things, plants or ideas that I like or distinctly dislike, and both conclusions are equally interesting and useful to me as I keep transforming my own. But I have a heartfelt unwavering love for wild gardens, gardens that invite nature in and work with it instead of against it to a larger or smaller degree. It doesn’t really matter to me whether the garden is actually wild or whether the wild look and feel has been achieved through careful consideration and attention to detail. What matters is that wildlife thrives and is given room + that incredibly serene feeling and atmosphere that exists in those natural surroundings.

To open this series, I have chosen a garden very close to home. In fact it is just down the road from our farm and was recently purchased by my friend and artist, Maria Fynsk Norup, and her family. Due to her background in botany, Maria’s knowledge of the science of plants is extensive and impressive and their home is FULL of plants indoors, but I don’t think she will think ill of me for calling her a relatively inexperienced gardener when it comes to the day-to-day and season-to-season practicalities of gardening outdoors.

The garden is situated on very very damp ground, and watching my friend navigate these conditions has made a certain kind of cycle clear to me. One that I went through myself! And one that I think most people who set out to create THE garden of their lifetime goes through.

The first stage is where the independent dreams still have the strongest hold. It is when we feel the garden MUST be how WE want it to be, regardless of outside circumstances, soil conditions, wind directions etc. There is a lot of disappointment, wasted money, and dead plants at this stage. After we have struggled like this for awhile (how long depends on each individual’s ambitions and stubborness and attitude to life in general I think) most of us slowly start to give way and slightly mold our dreams and plans to accept and work with the conditions at hand which we cannot or will not or cannot afford to change. New incredible ideas take form inspired directly by the current and specific circumstances in front of us. And THIS is the magical moment. This is when the garden becomes truly unique. Because nowhere else in the world will you ever find the exact and identical combination of YOU, the gardener, and these specific growing conditions.

Maria’s garden is still very young, but I have no doubt that in 5 years’ time, Maria’s artistic sensibilities and aesthetic, along with alot of hard work, will have turned this garden into a both extremely personal, beautiful and unique space.

But even now, there is so much wild beauty to capture there, especially on mornings when the mist rolls in from the sea and lies heavy and quiet on the grass, so nothing can be heard but the waves licking the stony beach just a few metres away. And it was on just such a morning last autumn that I asked Maria if I could photograph her garden.

The garden is not open to the public, so come along and have a look through my lens instead…

I am very much looking forward to sharing more beautiful and inspiring wild gardens with you this year :-)