The Nuptial Garden at Ryder Farm
I began farming
at the old homestead in 1978. My interest in herbs and flowers came as a sidekick to the new vegetable production with sales
at the Union Square Greenmarket in Manhattan. I went about resurrecting many old plantings found in long abandoned gardens.
Any one old overgrown and choked planting would divide out into as much as a 150’ row in my garden. There was rhubarb, siberian
iris, peonies, daylilies, daffodils, jonquils, lilacs and hostas. Each year my gardens expanded, row after row. Along the
way I’d come to think that given all of this planting, there lacked an artistic quality known to many flower gardens. Mine
was simply a production garden.
I turned to the old house garden site. It became my intention to plant love and
peace in my back yard, modeled after an early business logo. Ultimately, after years of various plantings and soil conditioning,
the plan came forward as a classic knotted herb garden in a custom design. Featuring not only love and peace in its geometric
configuration, but hugs and kisses, men and women, and the sun, the stars and the moon as well. There is a path wide enough
for two down the middle leading to the nuptial arbor.
It began with an idea and expanded into a plan. I measured
and mapped the soil with string and began to dig the paths down and turn that soil onto the beds. The pattern emerged and
the plantings began. Chives that bloom pink in the spring outline the heart and garlic chives that bloom white outline the
peace sign. Blazing star, or liatris, outlines the stars and so on. It remains a work in progress with herb and flower plantings
that symbolize the qualities of life. As the plants grow, they require some management in division. With concern for maintaining
the structure of this raised bed garden, I went in search of edging. Easily found at a 6 inch height I was challenged to
find a 10 to 12 inch edging that would conform to the contours of my patterns. In the end, I used double lap vinyl house
siding supported by rebar stakes.
With each wedding we roll out a white runner down the center path as guests stand
by in the multiple side paths and the wedding party gathers at the arbor.