To NGS or not to NGS?

Yesterday I invited the Surrey Chairman of NGS around to see my English Cottage garden. Margaret Arnott gave a great talk at my village Hort Soc AGM last week, about the history of the National Garden Scheme, and invited us villagers to queue up and offer up our gardens in aid of charity. The queue was regrettably for the wine and cheese. We are a modest lot.

However, it’s true, I’m a show-off when it comes to my own garden. I LOVE my garden. It gives me hours of contemplation, exercise, mental and physical, as well as calm on a calm day, and excitement in wilder weather. So I took up the gauntlet and thought I’d see if my garden might be worthy some time in the future, and invited Margaret around to see where improvements could be made.

Margaret and her husband Terry spent a good hour with me on a damp but clear November day, when most of the autumn leaves had fallen from the trees. I have created a few new beds recently, and with only the bare bones of the garden showingin general, it was understandable that Margaret thought the garden was interesting (it has an interesting layout and a bit of my quirky whimsy to entertain) but needed a couple more years of growth.

My personal style is for structure, a changing scene over the year, wildlife friendly and nectar rich planting year round, and harmonising colours in different areas. This is not a garden to everyone’s tastes but it works for me. I also love to create a clean and simple design for those who are less addicted to plants than I am, so that they too can enjoy great performing plants.

After a pleasant hour I realised the answer is to brush up on baking skills, and call Margaret up in the summer for tea and cake, when the garden has live leaves instead of dead ones, perennials are filling the gaps, and stone work is pressure-washed. Hmmm, with that list of tasks, maybe I’ll be grateful for a couple of years before giving it a whirl….

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