"Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.”
– Gloria Steinem
In my last blog I wrote about the start of spring and the sense of hope and positivity that it engenders. I also quoted the beautiful poem “The Seed Shop” by Muriel Stuart.
That positivity has stayed with me, and developed into the seeds of a garden project! I love looking at gardens, and have a reasonable knowledge of flowers and plants, but for health reasons have never really managed to do a lot of physical garden work. Similarly, I’ve not had the opportunity to spend hours wandering round formal or show gardens, much as I would like to.
But, that’s where social media, gardening websites and podcasts come into their own. TV is another obvious source of inspiration, and BBC’s Your Garden Made Perfect offers tantalising glimpses (aided by VR) of the potential for “ordinary” gardens to be transformed into an oasis of calm, an additional space for dining/entertaining or a series of “rooms” or sections for families of different ages to enjoy.
My own design so far has stretched to a sheet of A4 paper with what I hope are relatively proportional sketches of sections of patio, planting, gravel (or decorative aggregates as I discover they are called), seating, and with great optimism - a parasol.
I decided to tackle my project in stages, and with great gusto contacted several local garden companies to arrange for quotes for potential patio creation and some raised beds. I had anticipated that companies would be busy, but it came as a bit of a shock to learn that some are fully booked until August , or in one case, October.
I am now well aware of the competing demands for small businesses operating in what has mushroomed into a very demanding market, and learned of shortages of timber and fencing materials.
Garden furniture too is of variable supply, with some online vendors advising that orders placed now will have projected delivery dates of at least 20 to 24 weeks.
Given the pandemic and restrictions in all areas of the economy, all of the above are not really unexpected, and in some cases I will need to be patient.
The opening of my local garden centre a mere two miles away is eagerly anticipated, but I have already taken advantage of their online popup shop and taken quick and efficient home delivery of a mix of purple, yellow, red and white violas and pansies.
I have planted these in an old washing tub which came from my mother’s patio garden, and I reckon must be well over 70 years old. Pansies were my father’s favourite flower, so I always feel a sense of connection with my parents when I see the pansies’ little faces moving about in the spring breeze.
"Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers."
– Veronica A. Shoffs
My plan for the garden is to create a flexible space in my favourite spot where I can shift position into sun or shade as the day unfolds. This will double up as an outdoor office and reading space, and also offer a welcoming space for outdoor dining or snacks.
"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."
– Marcus Tullius Cicero
The wider area will also become a mud kitchen, tent, ball pool, paddling pool, racing track, helicopter pad, farmyard and ice cream parlour when my grandson is visiting. The possibilities are endless, but the choice will be his.
The exterior areas will have raised beds with railway sleeper sides and allow me to plant a variety of colourful bedding plants and shrubs which hopefully will be relatively low maintenance! In addition to large planters and pots I would love a kitchen garden trough to sit beside the back door giving easy access to a selection of herbs and salads.
The next stage is to decide on paving slabs, edging and garden furniture, and hope that my chosen landscape gardening company - a small family business - can start the work relatively soon.
As for the spring and summer weather? In the west of Scotland? A mere incidental! A phone call to the local builders’ merchant elicited a wonderful comment from the customer service staff member who said Scotland would be a great place if only we could put a roof on it. Watch this space.
March and April
By Annette Wynne
Stay in, stay in, O flowers, stay in,
Spring can't begin, it can't begin!
For wild rough March rides all about,
Don't put your little noses out;
Small heads should keep safe under ground,
Or March will catch you riding round.
Come out, come out, O flowers, come out!
Wild March is gone with rush and shout,
And April's eager now to play,
Come out, for March rode far away,
And Spring is dancing all around!
Come up, dear seeds, above the ground!
"Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint, and the soil and sky as canvas.”
— Elizabeth Murray
Lead well, stay safe