a different kind of gardening

A gentle nip and a tuck there, short back and sides here. Somewhere else a determined pulling out by the roots, leaving a not particularly attractive bald spot among the greenery. And all the time imagining the future, but never being quite sure about what will happen next season and the exact details of the garden pictures.

All this is fairly spontaneous, dictated by emotional, design or botanical needs. Gardening as process. At any given time bits of the garden are looking divine and other bits of the garden are looking potentially divine. The time frame for the potentially divine to achieve actual divinity varies from weeks to years.

The thing about gardening as process is that there is no end point. The garden evolves and changes over time. The garden and the gardener in intimate collaboration. The balance of power shifts at different times and in different situations. Sometimes the garden has more power, sometimes the gardener.

That is the kind of gardening I love, the kind of gardener I am. But this year it is different. In spring the garden will be open to the public as part of the Open Garden Scheme.

So gardening's not about process now. It's about getting ready to put on a show. To put on a show you need to Prepare, to have a Plan and a Strategy. More like a military exercise and less like a spiritual one.

I'm not really complaining. I have chosen to do this. I look forward to opening the garden. It's just that the lead up to October is a new way of thinking about the garden and doing gardening. The idea is basically to cut things back now, allowing nearly 6 months for plants to regrow and hopefully get healthy, bushy, lovely plants that associate beautifully with their neighbours.

In the meantime I'll just have to wait and see what happens... 

How much of the fence will get covered in time depends on how fast the Grevilleas  grow.

Will the Santolinas get bushy by October?
Will the Artichokes and Echiums grow enough to fill the gaps?


  1. Hi Catmint. Girl I am sure that everything will fill in and look beautiful in time or your opening of the garden. I am sure you will have those last minute rushes to get everything perfect too. LOL! Have a wonderful weekend.

  2. I was with you, until you said Open Garden! But yes, your Santolina will fluffy up for you ;~)

  3. I think I would tell myself not to think of it different, but end up worrying about it anyway. I'm sure it will look great.

  4. Congratulations, Catmint! Such mild-mannered writing for such an important announcement...from what I gather, opening your garden in the Open Garden Scheme involves a huge ammount of work, planning, detail and wmotional pull - but you seem to be taking it all in your stride. Bravo, and I hope you and your garden are graced with every bit of good fortune you need.

  5. No way - how blooming exciting!!! Ooo are you nervous? Oh I'd be hovering. Very exciting stuff Catmint :)

  6. How fun! Can you cheat by bringing in some potted plants at the last minute if need be?!

  7. I totally agree with Lona! Everything is gonna be alright.

    Nice blog!

  8. Dear Lona, thanks for your reassuring words, it won't be perfect but I'm sure it will look lovely.

    Hi Diana, do you not approve of Open Gardens?

    Hi Jess, I feel less worried now I've written the post. Thanks for the comment.

    Hi Faisal, thanks for your warm comment. I'm not really doing anything different, I've always been obsessed by the garden and done stuff in it as much as possible - which often isn't often.

    Thanks Ali.

    Hi Wendy, I must admit I had thought of that - at the last minute there will be sneaky ways and means I'm sure ...

    Dear Anon, thank you.

    Cheers, catmint

  9. Sounds really challenging! But it's a way to make you do more for the garden haha... I hope your garden will the prettiest come Spring. And don't get stressed out yeah. Enjoy gardening :-D

  10. Thanks for the comment, Steph, I am surprised but I not really stressing. cheers, catmint

  11. I hope it all works out how your vision sees it but regardless, visitors will love it all.

  12. How exciting to open your gardens to others. Blogging is a way of showing the garden but in person is wonderful....

  13. Nice to meet a fellow opener, even though we are on opposite sides of the world ! We open for the National Garden Scheme in 5 weeks time...help !! This will be our 5th time, my husband thinks I'm mad ! Don't worry, all will be fine and everyone will make lovely comments, then it is all worth while.

  14. It is such a different way of viewing your garden - what will it look like through a visitor's eyes? An interesting exercise I would have thought.
    I am sure it will look wonderful on the day :-)

  15. Oh, how I would love to attend your garden opening. I think there is spirit involved - you're going to tell those plants to put on a show and they're going to respond! I am sure your garden will bring beauty to the eye and inspiration to all who visit.

  16. Hi Tina, thanks for the visit and comment.

    Hi Skeeter, yes - it is challenging and interesting to think how to relate the blog and the real garden.

    Hi Pauline, you are an old hand at this. Thanks for your encouragement, and good luck for your opening.

    Hi EG, yes it is an interesting exercise, I can't control how they will see it.

    Thanks TVF, I wish you could come too. (You will of course, virtually)

    Cheers and thanks again, catmint

  17. How exciting for you to share your garden with a tour! Good luck getting the prep work done (enough) that you feel good about what you have to show. Of course we're always dreaming about how much better things might look in a few years, but no doubt yours will look great for the tour!

  18. Dear Tina, thank you for warm encouraging comment.

    Dear Skeeter, it is fascinating to me how the garden and blog connect. Thanks for the comnent.

    Dear Pauline, good to hear from someone who is an old hand at the open garden business.

    Dear eg, thanks for the comment, it will be a very interesting experience.

    Dear TVF, wish you could come ...

    Dear VW, you and I have talked about time before and how gardens need more time. I know mine is not perfect but I have decided it is good enough, and feel OK about it. I think I have stopped pulling things out as much as I used to. Thanks for being there.

    Cheers, catmint


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