Today I was putting a few plants into one of the newly dug borders that we have made this year. I was thinking about how I go about re-planting a flower bed – or a whole garden for that matter.
This is what the “Keyhole bed” looked like in 2006 when we moved into the house.
I must say that now, looking at this picture – it has a charm about it. The reality is that it had, among other things, diseased fruit trees, mombretia, St johns wort, brambles, lemon balm and lots of weeds.
At the beginning of the year – we cleared it all out – keeping only one apple tree and one ornamental crab-apple. To-day it looks like this.
So I was thinking …. I am the kind of person who has a feeling about the type of planting I would like in an area and I build on that feeling over the seasons and the years. I know that this “keyhole” is going to be a summer area. I want scent, summer flowers, nostalgia, I suppose the idealized cottage garden feel. I don’t particularly want any “winter interest” because the tracery of the apple and crab apple against the sky will be my winter interest, their blossom will be all I want in this location for the spring.
I admire plantsmen and designers who can design and plan on paper and then bring that design to life in a garden. But I wonder how I would feel if I was in a position to plan a border – and go and buy all the plants required in one fell swoop. I suspect I would be uncomfortable. I enjoy the feeling of “falling in love” with a particular plant and bringing it back to the garden. I enjoy the palimpsest. My planting, my predecessors planting, my interpretation of the keyhole bed – overlaid on theirs.
Eventually I hope that this area will have the “charm” that I found in the top picture – and be full of plants I love.
To-day I planted 8 x Hardy Geranium, 3 x Lavender ‘Walberton’s Silver Edge”, Drifts of Black Cowparsley and Angelica Gigas grown from seed. Physocarpus ‘Diabolo d’Or’ – which is my current favorite shrub for spring colour.
There is room for day-lilies and more paeonies, which are on my shopping list this Autumn – and room for more planting over the years, as the geranium are a kind of temporary ground cover while the garden evolves.
So tell me – what kind of plantswoman/plantsman are you – a planner or an evolver or a mix of each?
To-day, 28th August 2008
(That is my dog “Merlin”)