Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Fern Valley Volunteers and Staff visit the British Embassy

I guess sometimes things do work out for everybody, though it definitely doesn't seem like it happens all that often. The British Embassy hired Jim Adams from the National Arboretum about three years ago and they could not have possibly understood what a wonderful decision they had made. Every time you hire someone you think they will make a great difference, that they will turn everything around, fix all the mistakes that have been made in the past and carry you gloriously into the future. It usually doesn't happen. Hey, it almost never happens. And you know what, the percentage of people who end up exceeding your wildest dreams is infinitesimally small.

Well.....Jim Adams has made changes at the British Embassy that they could not have even dreamed of. I have to admit that I stopped visiting the Embassy almost 20 years ago. They had, then, a nice rose garden, a confused herb garden, a perennial border that was okay, but sort of out of control. And they had the typical Washington downtown landscape, that included too much English Ivy, many uninteresting evergreen shrubs pruned too heavily and planted too closely together. Assorted trees planted almost randomly. It was pleasant but.........It really wasn't worth the trip. Thats not true anymore.

The confused herb garden is transitioning into a classic potager. The roses, particularly the climbers have never looked better. Overgrown, outdated beds are being transformed. Plantings that have had issues for years and years, for example the small Cornus allee off the back of the house will finally realize their potential. Masses of bulbs and good woodland perennials have been added for spring interest. 1/4 acre of bamboo has been transformed into a tidy cutting garden, dozens and dozens of bush honeysuckles are gone, Hedera helix had been pretty much eliminated from the landscape. In three years, a neglected uninteresting garden has not only been resuscitated but has moved towards the cutting edge. I can''t wait to see it next year and the year after.

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