My garden, like many other gardens, has evolved over time and in recent years I have redesigned certain areas and my choice of plants has changed along with the garden. Twenty years ago, it was a hot sunny place throughout the summer months, but as my neighbour’s trees have matured growing upwards and outwards, the garden has been plunged in to shade for much of the day. Rather than doggedly grow the same plants I could at the very start of the creation of my garden, I have embraced the change in light levels and now grow an assortment of shade tolerant plants instead. Ferns, certain grasses, bamboo and shade loving shrubs now take centre stage and glorious they are too.
The garden is always in a state of flux, never static, with something new to see and appreciate throughout the year. Colours, textures, scent, the play of light on different surfaces, the sound of birds, insects, rustling leaves, all conjoin to create the atmosphere and identity of the garden.
It is something to remember about gardens though, that they are living breathing things. Being a combination of inert materials and live plants, both, requiring care and maintenance to keep them looking good.
It is easy to forget that gardens when created do not remain perfect without any further effort, time or money. Maintenance is inevitable and essential and if you are not able to do this yourself then, when deciding on a budget for your garden, realistically, money needs to be set aside to pay for a gardener.
Leave a garden to its own devices at your peril, turn your back for a moment and it will return to jungle. Even those gardens that are designed to look wild and natural, still need human intervention to keep them that way.
My own small patch requires the regular brandishing of a hand fork, trowel and secateurs. I see it as part of the enjoyment of owning a garden and it is always great to stand back and appreciate my handy work once the job has been done.