Why didn't I think of this before ?

Dear Monty,

I feel a bit lost, floating in the blogging sea.

This all started innocently enough, friends encouraged me to share some of my journal ramblings and so I did. I wrote to you because I have spent a great chunk of my life watching TV, and because I love gardening. I have watched GW for years. What really made me write to you specifically though were your thoughts on depression shared in your book 'The Jewel Garden', and I identify with the fact that gardens can be places of healing. But of late I have found a sense of inferiority and dissatisfaction creeping into my mind.

I have just got in after clearing up the mossy grass of its oak leaves, which made the space look messy. It is a bit like hoovering a carpet, all looks clean and fresh afterwards. The messiness is compounded by it being such a small garden space. It was this thought that turned on a light bulb in my messy head, why am I worrying about my garden being small ? Small man syndrome ??

I feel as though I have lost some integrity somewhere along the line. I used to be ignorant of the gardening and horticultural fraternity, but the more I read and listen to the debates about gardening and horticulture, the more distanced I feel from the reality of living in this place, a 'deprived' area in the old coalfields of South Wales. But it is not deprived of its own kind of beauty.

The majority of the discussions and debates and gardens are those belonging to the middle-class. Ordinary people, whatever we are, or those who cannot afford to buy many plants or have small gardens and arty leanings are not catered for in general. You have consistently shown how you can save money on plants, and often illustrate what can be done in small spaces as Longmeadow is divided into small areas. Now that is an interesting thought to me because many large gardens are divided up into smaller intimate spaces, perhaps because that is what our restless minds need? We did have a brief moment in gardening TV with Alys Fowler sharing a year in her small back garden. It was a productive and beautiful small space. One of the older gardening books I refer to, and one which has influenced my sense of design was specifically about small spaces, so smallness is not a bad thing.

I am jealous of those who have larger spaces, I do have a chip resting heavily on my shoulder, but this has only come about because I have wandered into the wider gardening world. I was once happy with my lot and plot. In short I should have stayed where I belonged.

Looking around my strange and very personal space on the side of a scruffy hill below a coal tip, I yearn to get back to just enjoying it for what it is. I will still watch gardening programs and visit other gardens and read garden blogs, but with a view to my own space without being foolish enough to compare it with other gardens.

My problem is I am a dreamer.



  1. If it's any consolation, Paul, I know where you're coming from. I've been unemployed or working only part time for the last few years, so the garden isn't as I want it but a compromise with my wallet.That's been difficult to accept at times, like painting with only 2 or 3 colours. Your garden, to me anyway, is beautiful.

    1. Faisal, thank you for this. It is truly encouraging to me that you can see beauty in it.


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