Visiting gardens in the English National Garden Scheme is enough to bring on an attack of horticultural obsequiousness. As much as I can admire the gardens of others it’s hard not to feel completely idiotic in the company of learned hardy planters. Luckily I could find sanctuary in the tea tent.
Hard to know if it’s all the latin names that send me into a spin or the ease at which proper gardeners talk of planting combinations. I find myself admiring the fact there is not a weed in sight.
It’s like receiving cold water treatment walking around my parents garden and admiring proper gardening. Makes me realise how far I have to go. I console myself with the facts. My step mother has gardened for – let’s just say – a very long time. She spends as much time tending the garden as a workaholic overachiever spends at work and her attention to detail is laser-like. The odds are stacked against me but I’m determined to push on.
With some gardening heavy weights on standby for when I return, blokes built like rugby players, we’re going to wield their shovels to overhaul our low maintenance garden into something manageable but with more floral character. I’ve been taking notes, photographs and trawling New Zealand nurseries online to create a wish list of plants that shall grace my acres this growing season.
I’ve learned a few things this trip that now I think about are plainly obvious. To start with, more plants, I’ve been too cautious so far. Also, less varieties and bigger blocks of planting. When you have a garden that spreads as widely as ours you need to aim for impact not intricacy. The biggest realisation is the shelter belt hedge I’ve been umming and ahhing about needs installing if anything in our garden is going to survive the pounding of Wellington winds. Oh, and before I forget, more climbers. Roses, clematis and honeysuckles and to heck with worrying about them invading the spouting (that’s guttering to those reading this in the UK).
The sad reality is that if I lived a little closer I’d probably have a garden filled with plants propagated by my step-mother and shaped by her expert hand. But no sense in lamenting what you can’t have. Best to dream on instead.