getting on with it

The trouble with making a garden for a project like The Showground of Real Living is that I’m obliged to get on with it – to work to a deadline and get it finished. But, of course, gardens are never really finished, because they are alive: in a state of perpetual growth. Artist often talk about the problem of deciding when a work is finished.

Most gardeners would agree that the best way to approach the job of designing a garden is to wait. Be patient. Observe: Throughout the day, throughout the seasons. Get to know the garden. But what if you just want to get on with it?

What I’ve tried to do here at The Showgarden of Real Living is to concentrate on the process of making the garden – experimenting, bodging, rule-breaking – with no particular design in mind. At the risk of sounding everso mystical, I find the best way to garden is to try to be “at one” with it. Rather than spending hours consulting books and learning the rules, you may find you get the best results from relying on your instincts – and on the incredible resilience of nature.

Plants are tough. They want to grow. And if you are growing them from seed or have been given them, it won’t matter too much if you have a few mishaps. So don’t be afraid to try things out and see where it takes you. Especially when it comes to what goes where. Be prepared for some hard work. But by getting on with it – little and often – a garden will begin to emerge. Remember you are part of the garden – just as much as the plants and other features. Trust your intuition. Believe your eyes. Feel your way. And you may just find that your garden is already part of you.

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