By big garden standards mine isn’t….
Big that is.
Of course it’s all relative. But compared to some of the gardens I’ve been visiting over the past few months mine is pretty small. A compact half an acre or so. If that….
But I’m perfectly happy with it. More than happy in fact. Because what my garden has got in spadefulls is an abundance of places to sit down and smell the roses. Which I’ve been doing a lot recently – because if ever there was a year to smell the roses this has been it.
So here’s a quick guide to the eight…. yes eight…. places to sit in my not very big garden.
Let’s start at the very beginning…. The front garden.
Not that we ever sit out there. And not that there are any roses. But there is Trachelospermum jasminoides which is smelling particularly wonderful at the moment.
So through the gate into the back garden, and the first and most frequently used place to sit is the one that you come to when you step out of the kitchen door.
This is the coffee drinking, newspaper reading, catch up on gossip corner.
And a Rosa Blanche Double de Coubert that you can just see the corner of on the left of the picture works its hardest all summer to make sure this particular spot smells pretty damn good. The rather droopy pink rose on the right scrambles up the pergola and last week was putting on a really spectacular show. It’s past it’s best now. (I know how it feels!)
Next is the bench under the Medlar tree. Sit here and you can sniff to your heart’s content – looking out across Variegata de Bologna and Winchester Cathedral, doing their bit to make this corner worth a breathing in moment.
Then the garden dining room.
And the completely fabulous climbing rose (whose name I’ve also forgotten) that wraps itself across the pergola.
Then it’s up to the get away from it all terrace tucked into the furthest corner of the garden. (Which is not very far away but feels like it is.)
And here Prince Charles (I kid you not!) is doing his darndest to make sure this area smells sweet.
But we’re not finished yet. Oh no….
Back towards the house, up the steps and through the arch into the ‘work in progress’ garden. This is the area where I planted a yew hedge on three sides of the flat lawn a couple of years ago, and lost one side of it to rot after last year’s perpetual downpour left the roots of the yew plants sitting in pools of water. They don’t like sitting in pools of water….
Which is particularly frustrating because what these yew plants probably didn’t realise was that they were being groomed for a starring role.
My husband is a died in the wool Chelsea fan. And when I saw a picture of a yew hedge in a judge’s garden, topiarised into a jury, I decided to shape my own hedge into a row of football supporters. The death of a fair number of my hard working fans has thrown my plans into confusion. But undaunted I intend to carry on.
In the meantime the benches that face each other across the ‘football pitch’ look rather forlorn.
So forlorn in fact that I’ve had to resort to some cheap tricks to make one of them look more interesting for this post.
So finally to my ‘sit and rest after working in the veg garden’ seating area.
I’m utterly ashamed to be showing pictures of my ‘vegetable garden’, which at the moment is more of a thistle garden. It too is work in progress, started a couple of years ago and, like so many other things in this manic year of mine, left to fend for itself. But I’m looking forward to the day when I can sit, gin and tonic in hand, and look with pride at beds bursting with produce.
In the meantime I’m spoilt for choice when it comes to places where I can sit down and relax, and forget for a while about the work and the plans and the things that haven’t gone the way I wanted them to.
That great philosopher, Winnie the Pooh, understood how important it is to switch off from time to time.
As he so succinctly put it: ‘Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.’