Carlo GabrieleI am going to tell you a secret

When I am in pain, I need to spend time in the garden because the plants often help me find a solution or a different perspective. That’s why a couple of weeks ago I decided to go and visit the Lambley nursery, looking for silence and inspiration.

Lambley Nursery Victoria August 2015 1For those who have never heard about Lambley, there are two main reasons to go there: the first is a refined collection of perennial plants, most of them drought resistant; the second is the owner, David Glenn, an English man with an impressive botanical knowledge and extremely generous when it comes time to share it.

Lambley Nursery Victoria August 2015 12So, I found myself walking on my own in a gorgeous garden: in fact, Lambley is not just a nursery: it is also a laboratory where David test plants, combinations and cultivation techniques. Surrounded by the silence, it was just me, the plants and the sky.

Lambley Nursery Victoria August 2015 16In winter, each garden honestly reveals its structure, its design; flowers and leaves can’t distract you and you can focus on essential aspects: “Do the hedges harmoniously design the structure?” “Are the evergreen specimens well placed?” “Is there a good balance between empty and full spaces?”. Shortcomings and qualities are now visible and unequivocal.

Lambley Nursery Victoria August 2015 11Lambley Nursery Victoria August 2015 15I realized that the same thing happens when we allow ourselves a moment of quiet and reflection, a pause in our busy life. When there is nothing external that can distracts us, we have the time to observe our “inner garden”. “Is there something that we can improve?” “Is it well balanced?” “Is the structure strong enough?” “Does it make sense?”.

Am I happy with myself?

Lambley Nursery Victoria August 2015 14I must confess that sometimes I am scared of slowing down; it’s when my imperfections become monstrously noisy, evident and unbearable. It’s when I face my fears and I see the ugly parts of ‘my garden’.

Lambley Nursery Victoria August 2015 10While I am walking alone in my thoughts, a majestic gum tree pops up in front of me. Only the sky, the brightest and shiniest I have ever seen restrains it; the other trees, as if they were scared, make a group, far away. Brave and persistent, it keeps trying to conquer the sky with its branches. The bark is squamous and the trunk is deformed, but you know what? All these imperfect features are exactly what make it magnificent. This tree, like me, is trying to find its shape.

Lambley Nursery eucalypt

I start to understand.  Instead of being scared of my imperfections, I have to embrace them. Then, like the leaves, I have to let my fears fall down and reveal things as they are, because there is nothing to hide. My life is the most beautiful masterpiece I can make, the best garden I can grow. I have just to work on essential things, so that my winter garden has the same charm as the summer effect.

Lambley Nursery Victoria August 2015 17

I have to have faith because nature always knows where we have to go.

Lambley Nursery Victoria August 2015 18

Like this post? Why not share it with a friend?


Carlo Gabriele

About Carlo Gabriele

Carlo Gabriele is a landscape designer from Milan, Italy, with formal qualifications in Agronomy and Landscape Design. After completing his schooling he worked with notable Italian designer Niccolo Grassi on many high profile projects within Italy and abroad which have received a lot of media attention in Marie Claire, Maison, Elle Decoration, Vanity Fair, Gardenia and Home Beautiful. In 2010 Carlo started his own design firm, Carlo Gabriele Architettura dei Giardini, designing outdoor spaces from tiny intimate courtyards to entire city parks. He has also designed striking outdoor furniture and exquisite pots; the latter have been produced and sold by the Italian company Laboratorio San Rocco. Most recently Carlo moved to Melbourne Australia where he has established his design company Carlo Gabriele Gardens and his blog I Will Teach You To Design Your Garden.

16 thoughts on “I am going to tell you a secret

  1. helen mckerral on said:

    What a beautiful and powerful post, Carlo. Truly exceptional in so many ways. Thank you.

  2. carlo gabriele on said:

    Helen, thank you very much. Nature is always a teacher for me, and I wanted to share my thoughts because they could be helpful for someone else.

    • Patrick on said:

      Beautiful photographs of the Lambley gardens.

  3. We can all find solace and strength in the healing power of gardens. But when you work as a professional in the horticultural area, it it’s easy to forget that. Thank you for reminding me Carlo. And I love the simple and straightforward way you have written about it and what it means to you. It adds to the power of your message. I feel like I have vicariously soaked up some of your positive thoughts about your ‘winter garden’.

  4. Patrick on said:

    Thank you Carlo. In your photographs and thoughts you have captured our winter garden in the most delightful way.

    • carlo gabriele on said:

      Thank you Patrick. The garden is so gorgeous that it’s easy to take the right pictures!

  5. What a wonderful piece, Carlo, with great images! It makes me think. I have always enjoyed winter gardens, especially when they seem to be sitting back, marking time (although not all Australian plants do this), catching their breath and getting ready. And it’s so good being able to appreciate the space. Michael Morrison (head gardener at ‘Cruden Farm’) says he loves winter best of all, because he is one for shape and structure.

    • carlo gabriele on said:

      Thank you Anna, for your words and also for talking about Cruden Farm: another garden to visit for me!

  6. Belinda Wandaller on said:

    Thank you for sharing your secret. You are inspirational & your piece was very well written. I love Lambley Nursery, you have inspired me to take a new look at my winter garden. Where shall we visit in Spring?

  7. Hello Carlo,
    Thank you so much for your beautiful article on our garden here at Lambley…
    David and I feel very blessed to live here , surrounded by the gardens which we have developed over the past twenty three years ….
    It is our wish, that those who visit us , and share our garden, leave feeling as though they have been in some way nourished.
    Criss Canning.

    • carlo gabriele on said:

      Dear Criss,
      Thank you for your kind words. My visit at Lambley has been revealing and I clearly felt the love and dedication you spent to grow it. It’s a magical place, for sure.

      • carlo gabriele on said:

        O.T. I had a look at your paints….your sense of colour is amazing.

        • Criss Canning on said:

          Dear Carlo,
          Thank you….I love colour….and indeed my palette is inspired by Nature…the great teacher !
          Criss.

  8. Deb on said:

    Hi Carlo
    I should say, did you have a look at world acclaimed Criss Canning’s paintings? – inspired by her garden there, no doubt.

    • carlo gabriele on said:

      Indeed!!!

Feel free to comment (no need to register)
For help to identify a plant, find a gardening product or for general gardening advice, please use the Gardening HELP page.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *