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15 April 2020

Q&A: A Garden Romantic, Page Dickey

The path Page Dickey has consistently followed is the one that winds through her garden. A romantic gardener, Page carves out paths in gardens so that walking through them feels like an escape, a journey to another place.  Lucky for us she’s a sharer of knowledge. When Page chronicles her move to Church House in her new book "Uprooted", is released this September, Page will have eight books under her belt. That doesn’t even factor in the articles she’s penned over the years, books she’s edited, and lectures she’s given. We asked her to overshare with us.

What’s one of your favorite resourceful/inspirational books on gardening?
William Cullina’s “Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines

Our note: The heart of the book is the "Encyclopedia of Plants," a section beautifully written by the nursery manager and propagator—and full of useful information that goes beyond the Latin name and flowering seasons. William details the genus’ attraction to wildlife, propagation methods, and specific site uses.

Page Divey Garden Romantic

Church House Photograph by Ngoc Minh Ngo

What’s your favorite season?
In Spring, I am over-the-moon with excitement as trees, shrubs, perennials, bulbs begin to unfurl.

What’s your top 3 favorite roses and why?
Rosa pimpinellifolia (burnet rose) for its fragrant pure white blossoms, attractive habit, disease-free, plum colored hips.
Mundi (old rose), I have a weakness for striped flowers.
Rugosa (Therese Bugnet) for the perfumed, muddled rich pink blooms, red stems, good foliage, and its reblooming.

What plant gets no love (is underused) and why should we pay more attention to it?
Bowman’s Root (Porteranthus trifoliatus) is a sleeper. A disease-free native to eastern North America], the elegant perennial is wildly interesting in all seasons. In May, starlike white flowers on crimson calyces bloom, and it’s also pretty in winter. 

Our note: We’re familiar with this intriguing plant that’s in the collection.

What’s the aesthetic of your personal garden, Church House? Wildly flowering, full of butterflies and birds, with a preponderance of native plants. What are some of your favorite “rooms”?
Walking on paths through our sun-lit, flowering, high grass fields then descending down into dark rich green woods. Those are my favorite rooms. Do you have an edible garden? Yes. A cutting garden of lettuces, herbs, bean, sweet peas, cosmos, zinnias, etc.

If people have cats or dogs and they want to maintain a nice garden, any tips?
I’ve never seen a cat do any damage weaving through a garden, or a small dog for that matter—unless it digs. With a big dog, it’s important to teach about sticking to paths. Old dogs seem to get it. Puppies are altogether something else.

Page Divey Garden Romantic

Sadie at Church House

What’s your recommended coping skills for leaving a garden behind (because of a move)?
Read my new book “Uprooted: A Gardener Reflects on Beginning Again.” Immerse yourself in a new place, a new piece of land, and concentrate on the discoveries it offers and your dreams and schemes for a new garden.

If you’d like to connect with Page, contact her through her website or meet her at one of her many symposiums, lectures and events happening in 2020.

Page Divey Garden Romantic

Page wears our Bluebell Earrings