One of the joys of being away is coming back and seeing how the garden has changed in my absence.

Before I left I frantically transplanted and re-transplanted. I think I’ve got a new structure that will work – for a while anyway. It’s rained over the last week, and the immigrants are established in their new homes. It’s a tough call. The plants and I can never predict whether their lives will be nomadic, settled or even snuffed out completely.

I am finding that one big challenge in garden design is to know when to use symmetry. You need it sometimes, to define a comforting space and to stop it looking a random mess. But when you don’t want it, it takes a deliberate effort to defy the seemingly natural human urge to symmetry.

This reminds of something Edna Walling once did. She was planting a number of trees in a garden. She got a bag of potatoes, stood at one end of the garden, and threw the potatoes across the area to be planted. Wherever a potato landed, that was where she planted a tree.


  1. I think your garden looks so nice and peaceful. Good to get some rain before planting. We had now for a while nothing else. The trick with the potatoes is also done when randomly planting bulbs in the lawn. In the last 20 years I had this garden, planted it from scratch, plants have come and gone. suddenly I remember one which I had forgotten, sometimes it is still there but most of the time it is "adieu"!

  2. Catmint, You have done a lot since last February!! The potato throw conjurs a funny image... it could work! :-) How's the weather these days??

  3. In a way, I think our gardens own US rather than the other way around. There are so many variables. I just planted a packet of poppy seed randomly, sort of. We'll see if it becomes total chaos or something to be proud of. One never knows.

    Love your garden, Catmint. The green bench is so cool, a perfect rendezvous. And your plantings make me want to see more. :)

  4. I love a bench in a garden like that, took me ages to decide on the right place / view though.

  5. Symmetry is hard in the garden. I think it is quite good if you want to draw attention to an area such as marking an entrance way. I also like plants repeated along a border as it gives it some form of rythm

  6. That's funny, kind of like throwing your bills in the air and paying the ones that land face up!

  7. It takes definite effort for me to pull away from symmetry, too! Maybe someday it will be easier.
    Lovely pictures of the garden. Enjoy your cooler weather.

  8. A totally delightful anecdote! Do have more of those ??

  9. I love nature please visit my blog too

  10. Hello dear friend
    I´m coming through Titania blog.
    My blog is much dispersive but i like very much wright about my city trees and may own garden in near Leiria city, middle West of Portugal.
    I´m very pleased about your garden and its stories.
    May be we can exchange some news and experiences.
    Good luck

  11. I use symmetry very sparingly in the garden. I prefer a soft nature. There is only one place I find it appropriate and that's at the front door, flanking the sort of says...come in here!

  12. Titania - yep, I agree, c'est la vie, plants come and go. Interesting you are familiar with the potato trick, maybe it's part of Aussie gardening culture?

    Shady - weather's better thanx. I think knowing the garden survived that horrendous summer, I won't be so alarmed next time. But there's little rain and it's a very mild autumn, today it's 23 degrees (73 in your system).

    Grace - Hmmm - do we own our gardens, do they own us or is it a co-dependent relationship? I can feel a post coming on ...

    Hermes - at least benches are easier to move than trees!

    PG, VW and CG: we all use symmetry in the garden, but on our terms, and it's an enjoyable struggle trying to work out what are our terms.

    Darla: lol, lol - please don't try it with bills, I'll miss your blogging if you're in jail.

    Alice, glad you enjoyed the anecdote, I'll try to keep up the standard ...

    d'Rimba, I look forward to visiting your blog and when I do I will definitely make a comment.

    Antonio, thank you for visiting my blog. I love meeting bloggers from all over the world, and look forward to learning about garden life in Leiria.


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