Early last week we received the sad news that Wayne Winterrowd had passed away. He was 68. Wayne shared his deep knowledge and true love of gardening with Horticulture’s readers for more than 20 years, most recently in his column “North Hill Notes.” Wayne wrote with eloquence and wisdom, crafting hundreds of flavorful sentences to learn and to live by. We offer these two quotes now—easy gems to bring into the garden with you, and that way keep him in mind. “A garden that is not worth a little trouble is not worth anything” (1998). “It is fun, and sad is the gardener who does not continue to have that” (2010).
Besides collaborating on their own outstanding garden and many books, Wayne and his spouse, Joe Eck, designed gardens through their firm, North Hill. The website, northhillgarden.com, has details about their work and books, along with an essay by Page Dickey and information about a memorial fund.
We've asked some of Wayne’s friends to remember him in their own words. Their thoughts follow. We invite you to leave your thoughts in the comments section, below, if you wish.
“Gentle but authoritative, infinitely sensitive and unequivocally witty, Wayne never uttered or wrote a parenthetical statement. Every truism he spoke and every sentence he penned had layers of depth and understanding based on his uncannily spot-on insights into life and its applications for the garden. If ever there was a person who filled the world with his presence, it was Wayne. And our world will fade a paler shade of green without him.”—Tovah Martin
“Wayne told me once that the vegetable garden was his favorite part of the garden at North Hill. It is in itself an enchanting spot, reached through a flowering meadow and bounded on one side, at a suitable distance, by a piggery and on the other by a friendly gaggle of geese, hens and turkeys. Within the fenced enclosure, framed with blueberry bushes, the ground is divided by straw paths into a series of beds burgeoning with leeks and lettuces, strawberries and artichokes, peas and beans. “I think this was Wayne's favorite area because it wove together two of his passions—gardening and cooking. Here was the pleasure of sowing and growing, the beauty of order and plenty and the promise of delicious meals that he would daily conjure up to bring to the table. Wayne's third passion was, of course, writing, and we, his friends and readers, are rewarded with the legacy of his words on gardening, on cooking, on life.”—Page Dickey
“As it is with many mentors I have had the privilege of having in my life as a horticulturist, cook, writer, there is seldom a turn in the garden, a move in the kitchen, a seed sown in the potager or a sentence written that I am not reminded of the pith and substance of Wayne Winterrowd. His carefully crafted letters, his exuberance and love for language—spoken and written—, his tending of flocks of geese and chickens and his caring for his beloved canaries will be remembered and cherished. Wayne (and Joe) were sustainable gardeners before sustainable was a word, committed to a sense of place and locality before it was a movement, were gay activists when it still carried a dangerous stigma. My world has become decidedly less opulent knowing he is no longer amongst us.”—Daniel J. Hinkley
“Drawing plants for North Hill has always been a pleasure. Each illustration began with a phone call from Joe—the stewartia was in spectacular bloom; the Egyptian onions, in perfect form; the colchicums have never looked better. An e-mail from Wayne followed, insisting I must come for a meal. I did not hesitate to obey; Wayne was a fantastic cook, the garden holds endless allure and the conversation always enriched me. I often took the plants home to draw when our visits left no time for sketches, packed securely amongst the leftovers Wayne wrapped up for me. But I was there for more than the plants and the food—it is the friendship that sustains—generous, sincere and full of warmth.”—Bobbi Angell