|Our previous front garden.|
OFTEN, AFTER A LONG WEEK AT WORK, I crave to be outside pottering in the garden. I like the smell of the earth and I enjoy transforming bare patches of ground into something more beautiful. The beauty of the changing seasons and the variety of plants available never fails to amaze me. However, over recent years gardening has felt more like a chore than a pleasure.
Ten years ago, taking on a house with a large plot of garden (front, back and side) was a challenge I was excited about. The garden was, to be polite, overgrown; full of garden clutter (if there is such a term) an excess of pots, tables, chairs and ladders were crammed into secret nooks and the two residing sheds. We removed trees, pulled down arbours, deconstructed a pond, rebuilt a shed and dug out overgrown shrubs and plants. Some areas were resurfaced with decorative slate or gravel, other borders were replanted. We spent a lot of money and a lot of hours over several years making changes. After about five years the garden began to feel a lot lighter and spacious and was a pleasant place to be in.
The problem is that a garden grows, needing maintenance and therefore time. Going outside to do some gardening became dispiriting because each part of the garden needed several hours attention. We struggled to find that time. Once one area was tackled we were catching up with the next.
When looking for a new smaller and lower maintenance house an easier to manage garden was high on our list of priorities. Recreating a prize winning garden was not our aim. In the end we found a house to our liking with a garden to match. We want to make changes to it but it is not screaming at us for ATTENTION OR TIME. Mowing the small lawn, filling a pot, a quick brush up of some leaves, or a bit of light weeding take about fifteen minutes a piece. This gives us more time to relax, be together or go out.
I am happy with my minimal garden and I will feed my love of plants and gardens elsewhere: in parks, at National Trust properties, in garden centres and in other peoples' gardens. To me gardening is a simple pleasure and simple it needs to be. A slave to a garden no longer I shall be.
At our previous house before and after the hard work ...