Control, light and planting - the mystery of the garden

Dear Monty,

Thank you for letting us know it is the year of light. If only that were true for everyone in every country.

There has been a good debate on ThinkinGardens about garden 'experts' which after reading the replies to Anne Wareham's article - made me realise perhaps we are all experts in our own preferred style of gardening.

Katherine Crouch garden designer stated that the word garden means an enclosed place free from grazing animals. I love this idea of being hidden, enclosed - private - safe - peaceful. After the grazing of animals or the whirr of the mechanical sheep, the land can be cleared for planting and controlled to suit our own ideas of what a garden should be.

I was surprised to hear Piet Oudolf in an interview say that he did not like returning to past projects because he once had a bad experience seeing one of his schemes poorly maintained and weeded.
This made my very slow brain think ... "Wait a minute - that explains the unease I feel when looking at his 'naturalistic' planting schemes." For me - they are almost too sweet - too controlled - too artificially natural.

His design skills are superb and his plant knowledge is extensive - but I now realise that I'm not that keen on his style except when the gardens reach their autumn and winter phase. (All this judgement is based on photographs of his gardens which are admittedly breathtaking - and I'm not saying that they aren't beautiful.) I suppose this is all about taste.

Perhaps I am a lazy gardener which is why I like Anne Wareham and her garden (and her husband).
You may have noticed that I am partial to weeds and imperfection - which is a turn around for me.
I still need to exercise control but not as much as I used to like. I now appreciate my lawn of many colours which is more like a carpet or a tapestry rather than a pure grass sward.

All gardens are artifice - but there is a balance to be had which I find richly rewarding - the balance between the wild and the cultivated.

Speaking of which I have finished my first painting of Pembrokeshire's 'natural gardens' - it is also about light and mystery.


Post script :

Mr owl has flown from his perch at 2.30 am this morning. And I add a link to Noel Kingsbury's blog - I had not read this before writing and thanks to Anne Wareham for pointing it out - is this what you call gardening zeitgeist ?


  1. Love this and love that you are finding joy in letting your garden relax. Did you see this? Might keep you happily travelling in that direction:



Post a Comment

Popular Posts