As the days lengthen and growth in the garden visibly expands, the compulsion to add to the burgeoning foliage is irresistible. Plant nurseries and garden centres can be addictive; I’ve visited more than seven this month, actually.
Confronted by actual plants, each more alluring than the last, the urge to have them in my own garden to watch them develop, day on day, is like a feast for the famished. Each plant is a welcome individual for which there is room in the infinite space of the mind’s garden. I do, just sometimes, think “Where will this go” and buy a plant that is a solution to a problem. Mostly, I just buy plants. There are a couple of dozen of them waiting for a home in the ground here at the moment. I expect they will go – pro-tem – into pots; we had over 70 pots by the end of last summer.
My friend, JP, isn’t like this. She has a plan. Over the weeks the conception of a new border evolves in her mind. She buys several plants of the same variety to maximise the impact. She chooses a core plant and selects those that go with it in accordance with the theme that has already been developed. She takes account of the longevity of the flowering season and deadheads regularly. She combines shapes quite beautifully. She does, in fact, do all the things I advise others to do. The effect, in JP’s garden, is first class, and even better in the second and then third year of its evolution. That is the diet sheet garden and I recommend it unequivocally.
So what can be said for the orgy? My garden has too many plants and an excess of different plants. There is too much going on for it to be beautiful. However, when I am within it I am in the company of a host of celebrities, a smorgasbord of talent and individuality. It’s a visual banquet, assembled just because I love them. It works, but just for me and it is selfish. In one’s own garden one can be an absolute monarch, perhaps, a despot.
Susan A. Tindall