"No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it." – Albert Einstein

About this blog

Does your garden work for you? Despite huge body of advice out there—just think about all books, magazines, blogs, social media, TV programs—many garden owners are still not satisfied with the outcomes of their efforts. As if some magic ingredient was missing. I am convinced that this magic ingredient is not just experience: it hides in fundamentals, like clarity of what one wants to achieve and why. Then comes how, which means understanding design principles and our mental responses to the space around us.

Design and architecture reflect the society, and simultaneously shape the society. The garden is not just an 'outdoor room', as we were taught by landscape architects of the previous century. Today's garden is a place where a lot of forces meet and become tangible: the hectic life of a modern-day professional, the individual battle between 'to be' and 'to have', as well as the changing weather patterns, and the issues of human dominance and responsibility. These forces create friction between what we like, what is feasible, and what is sustainable to eventually undermine traditions and incite us to rethink our landscapes. By deciding how we garden, we make decisions with little big consequences—in the first line for our wellbeing and integrity, in the second for all living things that are part of this world, including those that come after us.

Thus, my plan is not to write about five best companion plants to roses, or what to do with a shady corner, or share stunning garden photographs (although sometimes I might). I think there are many other authors that do it really well and I just don't see a need for one more. Instead, I would like to give you a compass to find the magic ingredient by yourself. I would like to inspire you to make the most of your outdoor space by showing you various angles to look at things. I want you to have a garden that brings you joy, that gives you resilience to cope with difficult times, that provides respite from life pressures. The garden that gives you safe space to be you. I am trying to remove 'impossible' from my daily vocabulary. That is my rebellion against rules and common beliefs, which I will be sharing on these pages.

I meant to write about something completely different this month. Yet, in one of newsletters which came to my inbox this week, I found again a call on the urgency of saving pollinators – or otherwise WE are going to be in trouble. In my opinion, there is a dangerous logical flaw with the utilitarian approach to conservation, which I would like to bring to light. I use examples of science and art to illustrate the paradox that leaving practical expectations behind is beneficial to humanity. It is a gentle but rebellious reminder within prevalent narrative why it is imperative to save the bees for the bees.
I took the plunge and talked about my journey into and out of burnout in an interview by my wonderful coach, Heidi Marke. I also talked about some of the circumstances associated with my decision to change a career from science to garden design.
Ah, that lush, soft, green carpet under the feet… Few other elements in landscape design are as misused as the lawn. Lawns are hungry for resourses, require high levels of maintenance, and are hefty carbon emitters (sic!). Contrary to common beliefs, vast areas of mown grass usually make a garden look smaller than it really is. It is also usually not an optimal space for children to play. I discussed benefits and costs that come with a lawn to help you decide whether it is your thing or not.
Working in your garden may be a path to more joy and mental health in your life. However, if you are a working professional, or a mother to little children, or taking care of a puppy, the idea of even a tiny bit more work triggers an instant protest. You are already overwhelmed! I understand, I've been there, too. So I want to introduce an idea that it is possible to maintain a beautiful, engaging garden without adding time-consuming burdensome work.
In pursue of ease in our overloaded lives, it may happen we ditch the effort that could possibly make us happier. Did you ever consider that a no-maintenance garden may lack engagement, which is necessary for profound, spiritual joy? Here I describe a particularly memorable experience from one of our alpine hiking tours and a lesson it taught me. And why I think that working in your garden is essential to deep satisfaction.
With more and more people living in cities, the urban development is ever denser and taller. Thus the problem that city garden owners face is more and more common: unsightly views. There is a lot of advice out there how to block an ugly view. But the fact is, you cannot hide a five-storey-tall building just across the street. However, you can stop looking at it when you master attention guiding in your garden.
Ever since I'd decided to leave research to become a garden designer, I've been haunted by this question: Is this the age to design gardens, or am I playing music on Titanic? I am writing this words from safety of my home in Germany at the time when Russian army is killing civilians in Kiew. I am Polish with part Ukrainian roots, so the evil suddenly became personal, and the question even more pertinent than ever.
Most people have a fairly good idea about what the price for a square meter of a house or apartment is going to be, and how much will they need to spend for interior furnishings and equipment. But when it comes to gardens, the expectations tend to disagree with the reality by a fairly wide margin. In this post, […]
A few weeks ago I hastily ripped open the package containing “Winter Gardens” by Montgomery Press, a book filled with stunning photographs of twelve gardens in winter by Andrew Montgomery, accompanied by interviews with their owners by Clare Foster. The excitement and liveliness with which I approached the said package seemed, however, a bit of odds with the content. […]