Endless Capabilities

Whether you are working with an endless expanse, or a small patch of possibility, a border garden can be the path that sets you free

In the 18th century, just as the American colonists were envisioning a new republic here in the states, across the ocean in their former homeland of Great Britain, a young and talented landscape gardener named Lancelot “Capability” Brown was embarking upon what would become a much-beloved style of gardening. Brown achieved the nickname “Capability” since he was often heard telling his clients that their gardens had great capabilities. His revolutionary vision balked at the formality previously prevalent in the English landscape and encouraged a less formal and restricted application of plant material. His style incorporated breaks in trees and shrubs to capture and frame a specific view, all the while achieving a more casual and flexible environment. Thus was born the concept of the border garden.

Most gardeners, whether they consider themselves to be novice or accomplished, have considered the capabilities that exist in their own landscapes. The luxury of space is perfect for the English style of the carefree, controlled chaos that defines a border garden, but a small, compact corner that is nestled at the stoop of a back door is also an ideal spot to indulge an inclination for a harmonious mass-planting of perennials. Wherever you decide to make the commitment, a border garden will delight, distract and distinctly define your passion for flowers.

Maria Hickey, owner of Maria Hickey & Associates in Falmouth, has been designing beautiful landscapes for decades, and says border gardens are one of her favorite elements to incorporate into her clients’ spaces. Each decision she makes in a space is marked by the thoughtful intention of a seasoned gardener and the passion of someone who truly enjoys transforming an outdoor space. A garden in North Falmouth is one shining example of her skills as both designer and gardener, with an outdoor space being revamped into an oasis for an ocean-loving homeowner.