Sunday, September 26, 2010

In Memoriam: Wayne Winterrowd

I learned this morning of the 17 September death of one of the great contemporary American gardeners, Wayne Winterrowd, after a brief illness.

Wayne and his husband, Joe Eck, were the authors of three books, including (what I interpret as an exquisite intellectual biography of a garden), A Year at North Hill and, most recently, Our Life in Gardens, and the creators and caretakers of their magnificent garden at North Hill, Vermont (blog accessed here).

I did not know Wayne in the specific, common sense of the word, but through his books I came to know an "internal Wayne" (and Joe)--or as much of their internal lives as they divulged in their books. I re-read A Year at North Hill every year, a chapter per month (for each chapter corresponds to a particular month), and each time I see the world anew, experience their gardens and their lives like old friends, and come to know more of myself in the process.

Dominique Browning, author, blogger, former editor, woman extraordinaire, devoted a blog entry to Wayne. Dominique reviewed Our Life in Gardens for The New York Times, which promoted Wayne to compose a thank you note to Dominique--and thus began a brief but, it seems, remarkable correspondence.

All of our sadness must surely be a fraction of the sadness and grief and loss his husband Joe must be experiencing.

To honor his life, perhaps we should all begin thinking of winter-flowering (taking a cue from his name!) specimens and plant one in his honor. That seems like the appropriate gardening thing to do to.


  1. Beautiful tribute to a person who inspired gardeners for decades. There is a Memorial Fund that has been established in Wayne's name that will help Joe and his son, Fotios, try to preserve Wayne's work at North Hill. The details are listed on their website:

  2. Thank you, Beth, for your very kind words, and for alerting us to the Memorial Fund.