I love my garden.
Four simple words that sum up the enormous pleasure that any gardener gets from seeing the garden evolve through the seasons and the years; from the hopes and the planning; from the wow moments when it all comes together; from the sharing with friends and family and even from the muddy hands and aching back moments.
The garden is a canvas for those who cannot paint, a blank page for those who dare not write, most definitely a form of creativity and one that can be shared, without moderation.
Some people bring in a professional garden designer, and the results are usually spectacular. A sort of instant perfection which is probably a good investment in the end, rather than achieving your goals by trial and error … but I have a sneaky feeling that for most of us the trial and error aspect is actually a big part of the fun.
I try to keep notes in the garden about things to change, to add, to get rid off and to move. An euphorbia that started small and suddenly grew over-ambitious is moved from the front to the back of a bed. Acanthus that weren’t happy in the shade of a tall wall, have forgiven me their mistreatment and are now thriving in sunnier spots.
And then I take photos. Of course its easy to take photos of the good bits, the shots we like to share on instagram, the shots that find their way here to the blog, and it is lovely to have those photos and remember just how spectacular a favourite rose was last year, or how nicely the Rosemary mixed in with the Jacob’s Ladder. I use a pinterest board for this too.
But sometimes its the photos of the stuff that didn’t work that are more useful. A tree that is growing too low and needs to be raised to give extra light to the bed beneath. A pink dahlia that grew waaaay too enthusiastic and smothered the peony beside it. The lamium border which seemed like a good idea at the time but actually got out of hand.
Even the Great Vita Sackville-West sometimes did things wrong at Sissinghurst! In her garden diaries she announces that she intends to “sow a flower bed with a mix of different seeds shaken up in a biscuit tin and scattered” …. only to add a few months later “by the way, the biscuit tin thing – don’t do it! a disaster!”. We all have to live and learn!
And so this is how a garden grows and changes. Few start out with a professional design, laid out, planted and strictly adhered too. Most are the result of experiments, mistakes and happy finds. This spring and summer I’ll be talking more about French country garden design but in the meantime I’d love to know, how about you …. how does your garden grow?