How rosy is your garden?

The snail, the broken pots and lackadaisical approach suggest a gardener who’s not too worried about keeping up appearances.

Spick and span with rigid lines and finely sculpted trees — the garden of a perfectionist — or uptight neurotic?

What does your garden say about you? Are you an avid gardener who spends every spare moment out there or are you the type of person who regards your outdoor space as more of an inconvenience?

With the glorious weather that we have been enjoying, this will certainly go down as one to remember.

The adults of 20 and 30 years time will be referring to the scorching sunny summers of their youth and wondering what has happened to the weather in the 2040s. Forgotten will be the 10 or 12 wet and miserable summers replaced firmly and exclusively in the memory by the three or four good ones.

For once, I am happy to see some smugness in people, those people who have persisted in holidaying at home and are at last getting their just rewards. With the good weather comes an increase in time spent in the garden and an appreciation of the great outdoors.

What does your garden say about you? Are you an avid gardener who spends every spare moment out there, or are you the type of person who regards your outdoor space as more of an inconvenience, something that gets between your car and your front door.

There are many different personality types and so too, there are many different garden styles. The great formal gardens of many of the National Trust properties in the UK and the chateaux on the Loire cannot be replicated in lesser gardens, but the style can. Do you like the straight lines and right angles and symmetry of these gardens and are you a slave to perfect form in your own garden? Then I would wager that in life you are also very disciplined with a very well ordered diary and are happy when everything runs like clockwork. I suspect your car is already booked in for its six monthly service in six months time.

Perhaps you have your garden organised in different colour themes with vibrant blue borders sweeping into the cool white area which is obscured by a well-positioned specimen from the fiery reds and oranges. I bet you have a different drawer in the house for each sock colour.

Is your lawn pristine and weed-free without a hint of moss and would I have to take off my shoes as I enter your house or is it more of a wildflower meadow where insects and wildlife abound and I would have to sit crosslegged on your floor to enjoy a dinner of lentils and cous cous.

Have you followed the advice of experts and created focal points in the garden using plants chosen with disciplined attention paid to each one in order to create perfect combinations to compliment these features. May I ask you do the curtains in your bedroom match the pelmet beneath your bed and is the painting on the wall dead centre?

Or maybe you are more casual about this whole gardening thing and your plants were chosen because they looked nice in the garden centre or they were on special offer in some supermarket and the design style that was used when it came to planting could be best summed up by the phrase ‘ah sure there’s a gap there I’ll squeeze him in.’ Scant attention has been paid to Herbaceous plants or shrubs, evergreen perennials and frost tender annuals. Everything is mixed, much of it works and some of it could be improved. I’d say dinner in your house could be great craic. Possibly a bit cold and undercooked but I probably wouldn’t notice because the wine would be flowing so freely.

Perhaps you look upon growing ornamental plants as an obscene waste of ground that could be used to produce food crops? Or is variety the spice of your life and is a little bit of everything a good mix. Maybe, like me, your cabbages are growing beneath the standard roses.

I am, of course, being glib and tongue in cheek but what is true is that there are as many different gardens as there are people who own gardens and that is how it should be. Your garden is your individual space and it should illustrate who you are. I wonder what you would say if you saw my garden: Nice, but a bit all over the place, would probably be the consensus.

Do not be dictated to about how your garden should look, certainly admire and appreciate what is around you in the natural environment, in public and private gardens, and decide what you like. After all would you be told how to sort your sock collection? Would I have an organised diary? There is no right and wrong there is just you and your garden. Enjoy it for the rest of this memorable summer and forever. Tend it as much as you like to and never let it become a chore.

To misquote TS Eliot, your garden is the place where there will ‘be time to wonder, “Do I dare?”.


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