I just recently revisited a garden I designed & installed last year. It was time for a bit of fine tuning and, most fun of all, a little lesson with the garden owner while I was at it. We worked together and I explained what I was doing and why, and also what would need to be done in the coming months. I was extremely pleased at how the plants have grown in and how the overall look & feel of the garden is coming together just as I had envisioned! Yay for a plan coming together!!
Nothing like starting from scratch! Actually, before this picture was taken, there was red lava rock about 4 inches deep and an old wooden path along the wall of the house. (left side of pic) After the lava rock and the old path were gone we rototilled the rock hard soil and then continued on…
The path was replaced with sand colored flagstone (all the way to the left) and a nice selection of lower maintenance plants were planted. Throughout the garden are several decorative stone and gravel borders (like the one above) to visually divide the long narrow space into different ‘garden rooms’.
This garden is located where it actually gets warm in the summer, and this beautiful Ulmus parvifolia (Chinese Elm) provides the only source of shade in the garden. Inspired by necessity, I decided that this is where the sitting area had to go!
When you’re in your garden, do you feel peaceful? happy? at ease? inspired? possibly even invigorated? Or does being in, or thinking about, your garden bring up feelings of stress, anxiousness, guilt or avoidance for you?
These negative feelings can be caused by thinking that there’s so much to do that’s not getting done, or because you don’t like the way it looks- maybe it embarrasses you, or it simply doesn’t reflect your personality or sensibilities. I know at different times I’ve felt all of the above emotions in regard to my garden, though I’m lucky enough to have experienced the “good” emotions much more often because I’ve created an environment for myself that makes me happy on a very deep level.
Another reason I feel lucky is that I’ve had many opportunities to create such gratifying outdoor spaces for my clients. Since I only have one home (so far!) with a finite amount of garden, if my clients weren’t so accommodating, I would have to re-do my garden several times a year to be able to express this creative urge! So, because I’m one of the luckiest people in the world, I get to do what I LOVE- creating uniquely beautiful garden spaces for others- AND get paid for it! (Whoever thought of that was a genius.)
Getting some of these yummy good feelings from your own garden needn’t be a daunting task, if you don’t want it to be. Anything from reinventing your whole garden to carving out a small, secluded niche can deliver the goods. In fact, for many clients, I’ve drawn the garden of their dreams, to be ooh-ed and ahhh-ed and dreamed over until some future date when they could actually realize it. They’ve told me that even this- a drawing on a piece of paper- brought them a measure of peace and happiness.