Like posts on this blog recently, I’ve been a little absent in the garden. There’s been some nice weather in which we did finally manage to make a start on levelling out the patio and fixing the loose slabs. I’ve also done some odd jobs here and there but whether it’s my age or the fact that I’m starting to fatigue close to the finish line, I haven’t had a strong drive to go out and be continually spending time in the garden doing something.
Having said that I spent most of the day outside recently playing catch-up. The state of the garden currently reflects this laissez-faire, hands-off attitude that I’ve had over the last several weeks. Shrubs are cutting off paths, the delphiniums of the Crescent are drunk and wayward, even the roses look are though they’re lolling on the arches and might just fall off if the wind decides to change direction.
There’s a lot of exuberant growth from the two borders at the back of the garden – the Willow border and the Landing Pad – but the nature of the planting: mixed shrubs, perennials and annuals, with lots of random things that have self-seeded – gives even these borders a loose and informal, “thrown together” sort of look.
I actually quite like it. It’s exactly the kind of romantic style that I love. It’s the feeling that you’ve stepped into a garden but it’s not the gardener that’s in control, it’s not manicured to perfection. Things have gone a little crazy, everything is jostling together, trying to out-grow, out-reach, out flower everything else. You’re not quite sure if the garden has been abandoned recently and plants have been left to fend for themselves.
I don’t particularly care that the delphiniums are either toppled over, leaning drunk or snapped part-way, they’re still all in flower and covered with bees, looking splendid. I don’t care that the clematis is overwhelming one of the fruit trees – the birds always got to the cherries first anyway. I don’t care that the blue-flag iris, the red-hot pokers, astrantia and many, many more plants have strewn themselves over the grass paths, making it more of an obstacle course to walk through. It’s the romantic look and more importantly, the atmosphere that I want to have with the garden. It might even be the equivalent of “shabby chique”.
All this “not caring” doesn’t mean that I don’t care to garden, it means that I can’t care to garden so meticulously at this time of year and am just happy to let things get on with what ever they want to get up to. I’ll intervene if I have to, but only if I really have to.
Despite this laid-back feeling, there is still work on the patio that needs completing and a large border to dig over and plant. These are the two final large projects in the garden and I’m finding it quite difficult at the moment to get motivated on either. While I definitely do want to get these jobs done, my attitude is perfectly reflected by the weather’s attitude to summer: there might be some effort shown with a few hot days, then it’s back to dull and wet.
It’s going to be dull and wet, which is actually fine with me because I don’t feel like doing much outside tomorrow anyway. I did a whole load today and I think that’s enough for a bit, just until I get some energy and motivation back. In the meantime, the plants can do what plants do, just grow and flower and for a few days, the antics of the bees, birds and insects will be all the activity the garden will see.
And I’m fine with that.