I think I’ll be moving plants until the day we leave this garden, but it feels as though almost everything I put in this year was in the wrong place. I had mystifyingly decided to put some very tall plants at the edges, and hidden some very short plants at the back. I’ve taken a sudden dislike to a few things including Verbena bonariensis, but it flowers at such a dead time that I can’t bring myself to get rid of it so have tried to hide it a bit more.
The main problem though is that the planting I had envisaged as random and naturalistic meant that none of the plants could be seen for themselves as they were all so muddled up together. So I’ve dug a lot up and re-established order, though I’ve probably overdone it and will be cursing the regimentation next year. Though it’s the largest I’ve ever had this garden is small by most people’s lights and my observations over the past year reinforce again that a small garden is not the place for drift planting. Though it’s very fashionable and beautiful I’m not going to come close to the amazing effects the big hitters can achieve, witness the success of the Olympic Park. So the thing I need to change next year is to choose fewer plants species and stick to them, and try to avoid the allure of the bargain bench at the nursery, where most of my orphans came from.
It’s all very pleasing though now I’ve tucked it up for the winter. I’m also enjoying planting bulbs and mucking about in my new shed, which Anthony built from scrap wood and two enormous windows leftover from building the house. The light makes it a lovely space to work and look out at the garden, which normally we only see from the middle or the opposite end from the house. We’ve been lucky with the local skips too and have salvaged bricks, tiles and slates for edging the beds where the currants and raspberries will be planted. And a very lucky accident has meant that the light from the west has increased as a large, rotten stump in the neighbouring garden came down of its own accord, so our rowans and John Downie are no longer going to need to be quite so one-sided. I really didn’t have anything to do with it, though I do wonder if the neighbours suspect me of chipping away at it at night.
The very hard frosts in midwinter were an utterly beautiful end to our first full year here. My main hope for the new year is more warmth, a little less rain, and time to spend outside cosseting the things I’ve ignored.