Bill Noble, a garden designer and landscape preservationist, has spent almost three decades developing his garden around an 1830s Greek Revival farmhouse in Vermont. The Flower Garden developed next to the old vegetable plot.

What gives a garden its soul? It’s a straightforward question with a complicated answer.

A garden gets its essential character through a number of elements: the spaces that are carved up, the way views are framed and the references to the surrounding environment, including topography. Time is an important factor, because it takes several years for trees, shrubs, hedges and vines to attain their own architectural character.

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