Letter to Monty 36

Dear Monty,

Pests, prophecy and communion.



30/5/12  Almost the end of the month of May - a beautiful and eventful month. A prophet has no real home, but a garden comes near to it somehow. I visited The Veddw yesterday. I was struck by the warmth of Charles and Anne. They are an intriguing couple and the garden is an expression of them, it is in a kind of tension between wilderness and formality - it has wild woodland which opens out on to the sculpted hollow within which the house sits. For some reason - I am not sure why - it reminds me of Portmeirion - echos of it perhaps in the sculptural elements like the buzzards and the dove.

Somewhere I have seen a photograph of Rowan Williams...you know the hairy Archbishop of Canterbury - with an audience seated below the borders. So it has this theatrical feel, a performance space.

It is definitely a photographers garden (my snaps don't do it justice) There are so many vistas with the light bouncing off horizontal, vertical and wavy cake-like clipped hedges. It is deliberately feasting the eye with structure, almost a carved out feeling, carved out of the hillside like the cottage ruins in the grounds now incorporated into the garden, part of the history of the place. Monty you would love it. Alan Titchmarsh may want to fiddle with it, but I am not sure Anne would let him.









Back in my little garden today I am looking with renewed vision, that means so much to me.

Charles showed me the Monty way of getting rid of Lily beetles without pesticides. We all find our own ways. Having thought about the issue, it seems to me that it depends on whether you are an anxious gardener - a perfectionist.

Here is the truth, we will never achieve perfection, as hard as it may be to swallow. I have found that letting plants be eaten, although disheartening is just a fact of life in the real world and in real living gardens. Real living has its highs and lows, a garden is no different - but with patience, time and a shift in attitude and planting techniques- the wildlife and the planting develops, the balance becomes such that the robust plants survive (including so-called weeds) and birds, hedgehogs, frogs, toads and insects and plants deal with each other. It is about living with 'failure'. It is about looking at gardens with new eyes. The Veddw has helped me in this respect.



Yours truly,

Paul

Comments

  1. Paul, what a delightful piece. Thank you for your thoughtful observations about the garden- and about us. I would like a badge of Monty Honour saying " I am a Lilly beetle crusher". But Buddists would not approve. I understand that.

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  2. I will ask him to give you one ...don't hold your breath ! I crush vine weevils...the chickens like them lightly crushed with a side salad of garden clippings with chopped slug for a bit of beefy protein.

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  3. Paul, what a lovely post. Myself, I always like the combination of the wild and the formal most.
    That is some very languidly poised dog you've got there!

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    1. Thank you ! Toff is a rescued whippet, who used to be a quivering ball of anxiety...a bit like me, but I think he has found his place...I am getting there ! Thank you again for your comment.

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  4. Well, Paul, it was very good of you both to visit us and to bring such generous and beautiful gifts. And then to write about us with such enthusiasm. I am a bit stoppered by the sight of myself in your picture and missing the one of Charles with his much-less-than-perfect allium foliage, which we were so looking forward to as one of the signs of imperfection. It seems I have to stand in for that.

    Lily Beetle Squishing will be the Next Big Thing. (Gnomic utterance no.2)

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    1. It is a compulsive thing to make pictures look 'good' I suppose...we seek out the beautiful ? Why stoppered, do you want me to remove your pic ? You look good in your wood. I could point out the box blight in the front garden shot if you like. I love that you allow imperfection. And I see your point. Much thanks for the comment. When GH makes his Lily Squishing Badges put me on the waiting list...except I have no Lily beetles just vine weevils. :-0

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  5. Ah visiting Veddw is one of my ambitions. The balance between cultivation and wildness is something I am preoccupied with here, on a lesser scale, and I would love to see what Anne and Charles have done. I am also obsessed with the garden as part of the landscape and know that Veddw is a garden which is renowned for honouring its place. I will get there! Thank you. It was fascinating to read your words and see your images.

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    1. You will love it, it is anchored, sculpted. It isn't perfection, which is another of the strengths of Anne Charles and The Veddw. Anne wanted me to include the Alium border in my pics because of the withered leaves with no underplanting, but it is a border in transition, and we all have transition in the garden..it is if anything constantly in transition. Thank you for your comment, believe it or not it reaffirms my feelings for gardening.

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