Gertrude Jekyll on the forum... :-)
The other day I referred to the book 'The Gardener's Essential Gertrude Jekyll' in response to a comment by Bahia that maybe he should give her a second chance - or something like that... Having pulled the book from my garden library's shelves I've just started re-reading it since it has been quite a few years since I originally read it. I was immediately struck by what a wonderful participant she would have been on a forum like this one! She had a pretty tart tongue and strong opinions, so she probably would have been called rude here from time to time :-) But she was good at encouraging a love of gardening by being tolerant (usually!) of the tentative, often stumbling, steps of beginners. Some quotes:
This one is very similar to comments/advice one oftens sees here...: "Often when I have had to do with other people’s gardens they have said: 'I have bought a quantity of plants; show me where to put them'; to which I can only answer:' That is not the way in which I can help you; show me your spaces and I will tell you what plants to get for them.' "
This rather long quote deals with beginning/inexpert gardeners and more experienced gardeners communicating with the beginners:
"There are many people who almost unthinkingly will say, 'But I like a variety'. Do they really think and feel that variety is actually desirable as an end in itself, and is of more value than a series of thoughtfully composed garden pictures? There are no doubt many who, from want of a certain class of refinement of education or natural gift of teachable aptitude, are unable to understand or appreciate, at anything like its full value, a good garden picture, and to these no doubt a quantity of individual plants give a greater degree of pleasure than such as they could derive from the contemplation of any beautiful arrangement of a lesser number. When I see this in ordinary gardens, I try to put myself into the same mental attitude, and so far suceed, in that I can perceive that it represents one of the earlier stages in the love of a garden, and that one must not quarrel with it, because a garden is for its owners' pleasure, and whatever degree or form of that pleasure, if only it be sincere, it is right and reasonable, and adds to human happiness in one of the purest and best ways. And often I find I have to put upon myself this kind of drag, because when one has passed through the more elementary stages which deal with isolated details, and has come to a point when one feels some slight power of what perhaps may be called generalship; when the means and materials that go to the making of a garden seem to be within one's grasp and awaiting one's command, then comes the danger of being inclined to lay down the law, and of advocating the ultimate effects that one feels oneself to be most desirable in an intolerant spirit of cock-sure pontification."
Good advice - although she certainly didn't hesitate to lay down the law on desirable effects on a regular basis:-)
If you haven't read much Jekyll - or haven't read it recently - this book is a good introduction to/refresher on an iconic garden figure who deserves to be better known than as just a hazy 'flower garden' advocate.
Here is a link that might be useful: The Gardener's Essential Gertrude Jekyll