Maybe it’s all these lichen stained stone walls beading the landscape, or my early morning foraging walks before the sun beats down on my shoulders and where all is quiet save for a distant dog bark or rooster’s reveille – but I am spending my days in Pantelleria thinking very much about the elemental – about what is raw and pure and of the earth and what it is that got me interested in all things botanical in the first place.
Because I kind of feel I lost my way for a moment. The same way one loses her train of thought in the middle of a sentence, I found myself standing, clippers in hand, wondering, “now what was it I was doing?”
I was always drawn to this life because I wanted to celebrate nature, to walk in the woods alone, in the quiet, and collect. I was drawn to the stem by stem meditation of creating a garden plan or floral arrangement. I loved the luxury of studying it all, in the moment, of appreciating the way a palm frond or evergreen bough’s shadow laces a wall, or the way Queen Ann’s Lace unfurls a tight, hirsute fist into a delicate constellation of miniature petals. I wanted to stop and notice the way the bark pulls away from the trunk of a silver birch, or what grasses look like in a breeze.
Somehow, in all the commotion and chaos of running a small business I lost the plot. And I needed a place like Pantelleria to hit me over the head with my own storyline – a place where plants push out through every crevasse, every fissure possible, where the sheer diversity of flora means I could walk this little Mediterranean island for the next 60 years and never see it all. And I needed a place like this to remind me that even though I cannot see and experience all of its growth, I’d like to try.
And so I am taking all this back to NYC with me as a sort of end of summer resolution. My work will not just be about work – but about passion. I will take jobs that allow me to consider movement and texture, I will make time to forage again, I will surprise my couples with little pieces of the unexpected and the natural in their tablescapes and ceremonies, something I have sourced just for them. When I design gardens I will think about texture and growth and the constant movement of a plant. I will remember that the wonder of all things natural is that there is nothing static, everything changes, and beauty is not just about symmetry and perfection, nor is beauty always distilled, it's often a little dusty and rough and raw.