The Six Degrees of Gardening



Last week was the Chelsea Flower Show, and because I wasn’t attending this year, I comforted myself with plans for next year’s tour and thoughts about previous visits that included the Chelsea.  Our first tour in 2002 is still one of the most memorable, especially our visit to dear Mrs. Kitchener’s garden.

When our small coach pulled up to her Hampshire garden, she came out and climbed aboard before we could even begin to gather our bags, hats and notebooks.  “Welcome, Americans!” she said.  As proud as she was of her garden, that day she was pleased to see us because we formed a connection to her son-in-law, the British writer Julian Fellowes.

Fellowes had just won an Academy Award for his “Gosford Park” screenplay.  The movie was Robert Altman’s version of a British murder mystery.  It’s still one of my favorite movies — Helen Mirren, Clive Owen, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, really, what is there not to like?  We were delighted to learn of the connection, and my husband Leighton and I were sure to mention that we’d already seen the movie twice.

It just goes to show that gardening connects us in the most amazing ways to everyone, everywhere.  You could play that Six Degrees game with gardening and end up, who knows where?  OK, so we actually play this game all the time.

We’ve met Mrs. Kitchener (and I’ve corresponded with her since), and so, you could say that I’m two degrees from Julian Fellowes.  Three degrees from Helen Mirren.  And from Clive Owen.

Come to think of it, I’ve met Paula Deitz, editor of the Hudson Review, whose article about the prisoners who created a garden for the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show was the inspiration for movie Greenfingers (2000), starring Clive Owen, so I wonder if that means I can take away one of the degrees?

Oh, wait, and David Stevens, too.  David Stevens ( is a fabulous British garden designer (and author), and David and his wife Pauline were just here in Seattle for the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, and David had stories of the gardens designed by prisoners, too.

Gardening is the best.



%d bloggers like this: