Friday, September 27, 2013

THE RIGHT PLACES TO SIT IN THE GARDEN

" The right places to sit in a garden have to be discovered. They cannot be decided in advance." So wrote Elizabeth West in her book, Hovel in the Hills.
This is my favorite place to sit in the garden but it wasn't always this way. This seating area was created when we began to realize that the two seating areas that came with the house didn't fit all our needs, which were to find a pleasant place to sit at all times of the day and year.


It's not that there is anything wrong with the seating patio at the back of the house. It is the perfect spot for early morning cups of tea, evening entertaining and a log fire is more than welcoming of an evening when there is a chill on the air.


There are splendid views of the sunken garden from here but this is not the place to sit to catch the warmth of a sunny winter's day. That was why we decided to make a seating area in our front courtyard.



Protected from the north wind by the high wall and facing south it is quite the little sun trap. I am sometimes lulled into sleep mode as I sit here listening to the sound of the water trickling over the sides of the water feature and the hum of bees on the sweet smelling blackfoot daisies.



Then I am reminded of something I need to attend to out there and the spell is broken. But as I said it was not always like that. To begin with there was nothing.


The plan came to me fairly quickly the first month we were in the house. It was a rainy July night when I looked out of the window and saw a swimming pool forming. When it rains in Texas it really rains. The small drain the builder had installed, with a few bull rocks around it, and which was to take water to the outside, had blocked. That was when the idea for a wet weather creek came into my head. That involved digging out the creek and bringing in the rocks to form the banks of the creek. We had plenty of those to hand. hen we hauled a ton of New Mexico river rock into the creek. We built a block wall along the back edge so that a rose could be planted there.
The slightly sunken area of gravel above the creek acts as a trap to slow down the rain. I notice that at the time I had already put a bench alongside the walkway from garage to house which brings me to my next seating area.


This spot catches the late afternoon sun. You wouldn't want to sit there in the summer but what a lovely place to sit in the winter. A cup of tea and a book! Ah, if only.
Returning to the back of the house we have a small dining are off the kitchen. It is a nice place to eat breakfast but only on cloudy summer days. The sun shines right in. We needed a place to eat our summer breakfast. There was a garden we hadn't even begun to tackle; the English garden. It already had a name because of the drystone wall I was building to create a raised bed around the curved outside wall. This garden was just crying out for circles and what better than a circular patio. And so the area went from this..


  to this and...


more recently, with the demise of the patio table a little refurbishment. Once again we can have breakfast in the English garden.


Just one more place to sit. The once Spanish oak garden has had a makeover too.


and I well remember what this looked like.


Now I think we have the whole seating thing just as we would like it. It took time and thought as to what we wanted and where we wanted it. As Elizabeth West said, none of this could be decided in advance. We needed to watch the sun, the weather and the seasons to find the best place to place our chairs. No more sitting on the driveway for us.

14 comments:

  1. I love all aspects of your garden ,"Yard" as we say here in Texas. Do you have landscaping fabric under the rocks in your xericscape garden full of sotols, yuccas, blackfoot daisies etc.....I am in the middle of doing almost my entire backyard in that style and will soon be planting plenty of blackfoot daisy as groundcover. Any other favorites as drought tolerant flowers?

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    1. No landscape fabric under the gravel. I have found it really doesn't help because over time soil develops on top of the fabric just from dust and dirt and if the weeds get a root underneath they are impossible to remove .he gravel is several inches deep though.

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  2. Excellent quote and so very true. It does take living in the garden to get it worked out just right. About ten years or so if I remember your previous posts on the forming of your garden.

    Beautiful as always and so interesting to see how you live in and enjoy your garden.

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    1. It has been 13 years since we moved in but because D was working to start with the going was slow. Of course, as gardeners, we are never finished.

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  3. So beautiful Jenny! What a dream...<3

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  4. Your garden looks great, and fits perfectly to your climate. Be proud. Be very proud.

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  5. What about the rest of your garden Jenny -- any benches tucked here and there?

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  6. It really is about where to put the place to sit, then what to put around it! Never knew Blackfoot Daisy had a fragrance, and I miss the trail I used to grind uphill through, where those plants managed...probably too busy drinking water and catching my breath?

    Amen, on not wasting money and time on weed fabric for all your reasons, from someone with countless designs under my belt.....

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  7. It does take some time, for a garden to tell you what it wants....what works.

    I'd say, you've listened quite well.

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  8. What a transformation! I can only imagine the long hours (and sore muscles).

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  9. When trees leave or grow, that really changes things...

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  10. I`m in awe! What an ambitious project. Thanks for sharing it.

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  11. How cool that you have all those before pictures to look back on! The changes are really quite dramatic. You've built something truly beautiful and amazing.

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  12. Your garden is so inspirational, Jenny, and so are you and David for doing it all yourselves! You have an amazing eye for making utility beautiful.

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