My Favourite Window

February 9, 2012

Changing Direction

There was a time, not so long ago, when I had grand designs for this place.  When Elwin and I took it over in July 2010, I was more than ready to remodel a tired old homestead. After all I had been dreaming and planning for the last thirty years. 
There was to be a Tudor rose garden with steps down to the dry stream. There was to be a wide shrubbery and herbaceous border with nine 10 metre repeats of predominantly winter flowering species. There were to be cloud-pruned hedges, and broad, meadow-sown terraces drifting down from the Skudder House. There was to be a knot garden of Maori patterning below an upstairs window and a sub-alpine sweep of domed hebes and spiky tussocks.

Dock and Roses ('Matawhero Magic')

This was to become a way of supplementing income because it was what I could do. Events of the past 18 months have changed what I can do.  I no longer have a technical advisor-cum-handy man companion, with a salaried income.  And I am no longer a fit young gardener: my arthritis dictates how I work these days.

Scarlet pimpernel amongst bedding plants

It is a surprise to realise how right Lady Mondegreen has been:
to let the garden show me the way.  It gives me great pleasure as it is, and as I move around remembering the past, considering the future, I have been noticing the wild flowers that have gained a foothold amongst my garden plantings over the last year.

Yarrow and Thalictrum delavayi 'Dainty Blooms'

But the creative urge is still with me, that need to tweak nature: to make my mark. Even now I am seeing new possibilities, where clearings can be made or focal points changed.

Gladiolus 'Holland Pearl' amongst foxglove seedheads and flowering hawksbit

I would like to harness the successful and flamboyant weeds that grow here and use them in a shockingly grand border.

Hemlock and pot marigolds 

I will continue to plant Ashley River kowhai trees in a grove along the stream. I will use existing snowflake bulbs to outline a braided tributary (have you noticed around old farmsteads, how spring snowflakes still outline vanished paths and fences where they were planted so long ago?)  I will find just the right place out of the wind to plant a set of six handkerchief trees; maybe I could still have a dancing greene!

Traveller's joy

And regretfully, I will continue to control the old man's beard.

Dock  Rumex spp
Scarlet pimpernel  Anagallis arvensis
Yarrow  Achillea millefolium
Foxglove  Digitalis purpurea 'Foxy'
Hawksbit, Smooth hawksbeard  Crepis capillaris
Hemlock  Conium maculatum 
Pot marigold Calendula officinalis
Traveller's joy, Old man's beard  Clematis vitalba


Owen said...

May your garden grow joyfully, recklessly, wildly, in every way you want it to, and in some ways you hadn't even dreamed of, wildflower seeds blown in from afar, working their magic...

Jeneane said...

It's pretty neat isn't it, being open to the unexpected :-)

Joanna said...

beautiful writing, beautiful pictures

Donna OShaughnessy said...

I am new to your blog but I know I will be back. In Central Illinois on our old farm I will this year, finally, dig out and create a special garden just for me. I beleive coming back here will be a great inspiration for me. Many thanks for the lovely pics

Jeneane said...

Joanna: Thanks so much for visiting. I appreciate your compliments and will get back to look at your lovely handcrafts in due course :-)

Donna O Shaughnessy: Welcome to the Secret Garden. It sounds like you too have returned to a place of the heart. Let the inspiration flow.

the cuby poet said...

Your idea to let the garden dictate to you what and how it wants to grow is so organic in approach. How pretty some of the flowers in your garden already are so let nature take charge with minimal tweaking involved! Enjoy.:)

Peter Olson said...

Wild flowers are nice! Let them (also) grow! Lately, I have noted that the Paris park gardeners often let a piece of the parks "wild". ... and there are two small parks, completely "wild". This can be very nice!!

Jeneane said...

the cuby poet: The Secret Garden has such good bones with all the mature trees, and the wild things complement them so well.

Peter Olson: I did notice at the gates of Parc Monceau a board noting all the wild plants and birds to be found there. It's a good move to foster the wild things for the well-being of the more cultivated gardens, isn't it :-)