"After a downpour, the scarps and inclines of the Silent Valley scintillate with water. Waterfalling veins pulse down the mountainsides, with cloudy wisps blown off them"
(from Fishing for Amber).That's the sort of day we had today.
|one wet schnauzer|
So-o-o, what should a garden be?
For some gardeners, it's ALL about the plants: they want the best collection, the rarest plant ('my snowdrop is rarer than yours...'), the newest cultivar. For others, it's all about the design - every plant, every hard structure must have its place and all are informed by the grand vision for the space, with little tolerance for serendipity. There's the 'outside room' idea, but really why have a garden if you're going to think of it as a room? And of course some people don't give their gardens much thought at all, they're somewhere to park the car or the bicycles, hang out the laundry, store the bins, put the dog kennel. That last wouldn't be me,although my garden has to also cater for all of those things. Also, I don't have the time (or the inclination, to be honest) to have a 'perfect' design; and while I love so many plants, I'm not a collector and I'm careless about remembering which varieties I have, even when they're gorgeous things I've found in Mount Venus or the Camolin Potting Shed.
So I've been trying to figure out of late what sort of gardener I am. And the nearest I can come to it is this: for me it's about the whole, it's about the sense of place. I want the garden to be pleasing to the eye, yes, but not necessarily filled with flowers; I want it to have a sense of design, yes, but I don't want that to be the end in itself. I want the garden to be somewhere I want to be. I want it to have a sense of place most of all. I want my family and my friends to enjoy being in it, and to have a picture of it, a sense of it, when they're not in it... Oh and with all of that, I'd like it to be somewhere that other beasties enjoy being too. Do I succeed with all of this with my tiny north-facing patch? I doubt it, but it's a nice goal to work towards. Here are some of the current attempts to create that sense of place in a small space.
I'll start with water since it has been such a wet day. Might as well!
The pool has made a big difference to the sense of place in the garden. Whether it's a still, meditative slice of reflected sky in April, part of the lush growth of a wet summer, or looking slightly mysterious at night, it provides all sorts of pleasure to all of us who spend time in the garden (or just looking out at it from inside). The tiny pond farther up the garden provides home for other residents, all of whom are very welcome and some of whom have already laid the first of this year's frog spawn (I spotted the first clumps this week).
|Reflective in April|
|Part of the bigger picture in August|
|The pure white of water lily is welcome any time|
|The pool at night|
|One of the many other residents in the garden|
|The morning bench|
|For the weary gardener, or to shelter from the rain, |
or just to sit in the lovely growey smell in the greenhouse
|Starry-eyed: Irish Moss|
|Loganberries, no comment needed!|
|Lilies blow summer's trumpet|
|Phyllitis, Hart's Tongue, unfurls raspily in the Spring|
|Miscanthus and jewels of dew in April|
|Erigeron, cobbles and Valentia pebbles|
More on this anon, but meanwhile have a good week all.