Posted by: leafvigurs | February 8, 2016

A Gardeners Garden

Alice with carved hare

Standing in the back garden tonight it is already long since dark, and the patio and beds are illuminated by a single outside light. In the all too brief dry cold days I did as much of the winter pruning as I could, hard pruning the rose into a permanent frame work and further defining the characters of all the deciduous trees captured in their pots. Now, still damp from today’s rain, I am able to see the shape of the beds beginning to take form. Much of them are newly planted, not even a year yet, but I smile to see the Garryra eliptica has now reached the height of the fence and maybe next year we will see its first catkins. In my mind I am already rearranging pots, visualising next year’s growth and considering the next layer of planting. Standing in a cool breeze in the dark a sudden image of it on a sunny May day springs to me and I can feel its warmth. I am delighted at the old Butler sink Alice’s grandparents bought her, and I consider where it will sit within the garden, and what plants should frame it. Now she can have her own personal space to plant and grow and discover the joy of it all.

In the shed a hare waits, slowly emerging from a block of ash on those rainy days when it is too wet to step onto the garden. When finished he will sit on the ash stump in the main centre bed to mark William Harrison’s place in the house’s history, and I look forward to placing him so he can gaze towards the church and welcome all who visit. (William Harrison; rebus ‘Hare in Sun’ Rector of Radwinter between 1558 and 1593).

No doubt like many gardeners I struggle to find time for our garden, often spending just one day a week working in it while the majority of my time is dedicated to working in other people’s. It is a privilege to do so, and the opportunity to share in their gardens is an invaluable one. By doing so I tap into a vast resource of years of experience, and I have come to realize that all of my gardens feed each other. There is a growing relationship between them, and though all have their individual charms and personalities I feel less and less division between them. Certainly without them our own garden would be much impoverished and so I have a feeling of gratitude to all of my clients.

Despite the lack of time, and often a feeling of urgency to get important jobs done within their correct time frames, what I have discovered is that there is a gentleness to gardening. It cannot be forced or rushed, and the development of a garden is seen in years and decades. Recently I spoke to someone who had visited one of my client’s gardens in the summer. She said “it looked cared for”, a simple comment that beautifully captured all I could hope for.

We have been here three years now, such a tiny fragment of a gardens life, and that one day a week I have in it is precious. In that time I have done a lot that I wanted to and it has given, and continues to give me great pleasure. Naturally there is so much more I would like to do and there are no real shortcuts in gardening. Yet at every opportunity I am watching its progress and fine tuning its future, and even tonight, in the dark as the rain begins to fall again it is hard to tear myself away and come inside.


  1. Summer won’t be long away and then you’ll be able to be out till gone ten once more.

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