I already knew before we went to Butchart that I was unlikely to be paying a return visit and not because of the distance and effort to get there. I am just not excited by mass plantings of the same plant. Much as I love geraniums and snapdragons one or two are enough for me, interspersed among other flowers and shrubs.
So what do I look for in a garden? Maybe what I like has something to do with where I grew up. I spent the first 23 years of my life in England. I never had my own garden but I was fortunate to grow up in a lovely garden.
It was surrounded by walls. Within those walls the garden was divided into several areas of interest. The rose garden with crazy paving pathways, trellises and archways, the lawn, the vegetable garden hidden behind the rockery, and the greenhouse where we loved to go on a cold summer's day. You wanted to go explore, pass through the archway and see what was beyond. In those days almost every house in England was surrounded by either walls or fences. Some front gardens were barely 6' deep but you would still find a low wall separating the house from the street. When I came to North America I found a different kind of garden. Large expanses of grass flowing from one house to another, the space dotted with shrubs and trees. The same in the back garden. There were no fences on the street where we bought our first house in Canada and none across the back. I soon changed that. I needed my boundaries marked! We put in a post and rail fence around three sides of the back garden. Now I had something against which I could design a garden.
If I told you Sissinghurst, Hidcote, Snowshill, Stone House garden are some of my favorite gardens I think you would understand immediately. I like walled gardens and I don't want a garden to give itself up in one glance.
And I want to take home some ideas that I can incorporate into my own garden space.
|Sunken garden October 2010|