I really can’t believe that, exactly a year ago, our modest-sized garden was still a soil patch – or not even that, as you couldn’t see too much of the soil beneath the thick, tangled carpet of weeds! In the mid-summer of 2010, we were still faced with having to shape the borders or dig in two pallets of manure; that awful in-between stage where the garden was neither the neat(ish) “make-do” patch of previous years or the dream garden of the future. Long evenings were spent sipping wine on the patio with our chairs angled to face the house as we became practiced at averting our gaze from the unsightly mess behind us. The phrase “it will all start to come together soon, just you wait” and similar became a pacifier that I had almost stopped believing in.
Well, the garden is now, well and truly, in full-bloom and an oasis of delight (or, to quote my husband, who is thoroughly enjoying the transformation, “paradise in a pint glass”). Plants of differing height, colour and texture are knitting together and look as though they have been bed-fellows for considerably longer than is the reality; I can’t quite believe the rate at which things grow! The whole scheme has taken on a definite air of maturity and all of this in just one season. Chairs are now arranged (in multiple locations) in such a way that we can best appreciate the various various “views” of our new garden from all possible angles; even the dining table has been moved onto the lawn, which has become another “room” for alfresco dining and relaxed evenings by candle light.
As someone with no previous experience whatsoever where it comes to gardening, I am more than a little gob-smacked at the result of my first efforts and how easily it has all come together, making me wonder why I didn’t tackle it before. I managed to grow a couple of tomatoes in a grow bag once and have mastered keeping flowers alive in pots but that is about all that I’ve done before. In fact, when I bought my first house, I very proudly tended some of the “plants” I thought I had inherited, maintaining them in neat rows, only for my visiting mother to point out they were weeds…and I think I pretty-much gave up after that, assuming gardening was the domain of the well-informed. Well, there are absolutely no rows in this garden; it is most definitely a “painterly” scheme with great dollops of colour juxtaposed in ways that I thought would work really well, visually, whilst making the space appear far bigger than it really is, with carefully positioned gaps disclosing “secret” seating areas and with lanterns, pottery, fragments of mirror and other structures adding interest between the foliage. The scheme will continue to evolve over time (and the real beauty of gardening is that it must evolve, constantly); I look forward to enjoying the changes in seasons to come and I’m already learning from what I’ve done so far.
For the moment, here’s how it is looking at the height of summer 2011, as I approach the first anniversary of when work got underway; and I still have to blink to take in the transformation!