happening in the Hayward garden that the order
imposed by the designer’s devotion to the straight
line is essential to delivering calm to the scene.
Things were certainly not so serene when the
Haywards first came to the 1½-acre, seriously dilapidated property in Westminster West, Vermont. “We
moved in during a December 1st snowstorm,” Gordon recalls. “By March, we were cleaning the place
up.” Seven truckloads of scrap metal and 16 brush
piles later, they were finally able to address the specifics of landscape planning. For Gordon Hayward,
it was a seminal moment. Growing up on a working
orchard gave him a taste for the rhythms of the land.
But even more formative were summer visits to his
aunt’s house and garden on New York’s Long Island.
His father had a gentrified orchard all tidy, clipped,
and fanatically mowed, but his aunt had gardens.
Hayward got his degree in English (with a minor
in art history) and taught school, leaving summers
free for other pursuits. So when he met and mar-
ried Mary in 1976, they traveled around Europe
for a while before he followed her home to Chip-
ping Campden, a small town in the Cotswolds. To
replenish his empty wallet, Hayward did gardening
work for a vintner, making wine deliveries as a side-
line. Moonlighting brought him to the backdoor of
some grand manor properties with gardens to match.
“Absolutely, they turned my head,” he says.
Before he actually planted perennial beds, Hayward was dreaming about them. An editor at
Horticulture magazine noticed the eager young English
teacher with a penchant for gardening and welcomed
his freelance proposals. Not by accident, Hayward
asked to interview some of the foremost gardeners of
the day, learning every step of the way. Meanwhile,
he had acquired the Vermont garden, with summers
as the central axis moves toward the 100-year-old apple
tree (above left), pots spilling with begonias, clipped
boxwood, and locust posts reaffirm the line. Gordon and
Mary Hayward (above right) take their morning coffee in
the garden. Along a woodland path (facing page),
steppingstones wade through epimedium, ferns, phlox,
and Solomon’s seal.