Let not each beauty ev’rywhere be spied,
Where half the skill is decently to hide.
He gains all points, who pleasingly confounds,
Surprises, varies, and conceals the bounds.
Epistles to Several Persons: Epistle IV By Alexander Pope
This is a perfect quote for the garden and one found in the inspirational garden of Frank Cabot. In his pigeonnier (a surprise in itself) the words are enscribed on the building’s hidden entrance.
While I’ve been establishing my garden for the birds and bees of late, I still dream that one day my garden will have its hidden surprises.
Frank called his garden ‘A sonata with a horticultural climax in Mid July’. His garden is always changing and always new. So too will my garden be. From the ashes of an ill trimmed tree – a surprise just might be found.
And for those curious about pigeonniers
A pigeonnier (a dovecote in English) is a rural french buildng for raising pigeons for food. As with everything french, form is as important as function. The pigeonnier is no exception. On its inside are hollows for pigeons to roost and raise chicks. And outside a gabled roof and roosting benches add flair to a square or round building.
Above is a round piggeonier from the 1100’s. Though many dovecotes are square multi-storied building on stilts to raise the floor above the damp and vermin. This one from Perrez France is a grand example. But one wonders how do you get up there to clean?
As you imagine this view from the dovecote, a garden’s elements can give you a heightened awareness of what a place can be. While I may never use a dovecote for food, I do love my mourning doves and they deserve a house as grand as the french pigeonnier. Perhaps I will buy a birdhouse an ode to the tradition.