I have been reading a wonderful post at Esther's Boring Garden blogspot (and don't be fooled. She was just too modest to call it Esther's fascinating garden blog which is what it is.) In it she talks about her dream garden, not a fantasy garden but the way parts of her real garden represent bits of a dream: a single primrose by the path is a bank of primroses. It resonated strongly with me. I suspect most gardeners have a dream version of their own garden. It's that dream that keeps us plotting and planting and musing about our gardens.
That sensation is very strong when you are slowly making a garden. So much of my garden as yet in is my head and what is happening on the ground is sometimes something of a surprise, so vivid are things in my mind's eye. So here are some of my dream spots.
Under the viburnum by the gate to the field the soil is shaded and dry. In my head it is marbled with cyclamen and dancing with epimedium. These are the epimedium I selected with some care at the Malvern Spring Show. On the ground the cyclamen has spread from this:
to a patch with a diameter of about two feet, maybe more. That is good, obviously, but it is not a dancing sea.
I am really hoping the epimedium hasn't died. I could look it up and confirm for sure whether they should be above ground right now but my hunch is that they should always be visible and they are well and truly not. I can't quite bring myself to admit that they have turned up their toes. Everything I have read about epimedium trumpets the plant's toughness and indestructibility. In what kind of garden can't they make it?
The sunny bank does quite a good version of being what it is supposed to be. There is of course the permanent threat of extinction under a tide of comfrey and nettles, and, more recently under a wash of valerian which I introduced myself, but generally the power of the view is strong here and the mix of irises and lavender and penstemon and old pinks followed later by sedum in all its glory is as it should be.
The field is a different matter. When we came here five years ago it was an acre of grass containing a workshop, a septic tank overflow, a prolific apple tree, a young walnut tree, a native cherry, a silver birch and a twisted willow. All of these things were squashed into the quarter of the area nearest the house. Beyond that it just grew and reproached you for not being productive either for plants or for nourishing livestock.
Now it has a plan, of sorts. It is divided into three. The top third contains the workshop and a wooden swing surrounded by native daffodils in spring, the area stopped by a great curve of shrub roses, mainly rosa rugosa. Behind these there is a stand of stipa gigantea, intended to provide the full stop to the play area when the roses are bare. In my dream garden the roses are six foot high and five feet across, their feet in daffodils in spring when the foliage is green and bright and then weighed down by pink and white blooms in summer. Behind them as the roses fade the grasses fountain up, hinting at meadow, meadow on steroids perhaps. On the ground the roses are about 2 foot 6". The grasses only went in this summer.
I can feel that this is a post which a deal of a way to go yet.
To be continued....