Monday, 1 January 2007

A Garden For Sharing.

Any garden is best appreciated when shared with family and friends, and passing strangers, and ours is no exception. Mostly, I want those who come to visit our garden to have a complete sensory experience, and to take home with them a sense of the garden being in harmony with nature.

Obviously there is something of interest to see every month of the year. In high Summer, the spectrum of colour is at its highest because it's mainly a cottage garden with an abundance of cultivated and wild flowers, each a delight for the eyes.

As well as a variety of birdsong, the garden buzzes with bees, hoverflies and wasps. At particular times we also have frogs chorusing, which is a bit like the sound of distant motorbikes. Most evenings throughout the year a large number of sparrows roost in the ivy-clad walls of Little Dublin and chirrup amongst themselves. We also have martins and swallows who nest on the eaves of the house and in the barn, and their song can be heard throughout the Summer months.

Throughout the garden I have strategically placed herbs so that their different aromas can be experienced by visitors as they brush past them. Thymes, eau de cologne mint, oregano, lemon verbena and fennel are a few of these. Some of the flowers with strong perfumes are roses, lupins, peonies, and day-lilies. On an evening walk, the air is perfumed by the strong scent of nicotiana, oriental lilies and the heady aroma of honeysuckle.

In the herb bed I encourage everyone to "taste and try" by rubbing a leaf from a herb and eating it if so desired. When in season we share our strawberry harvest too, and we often drink refreshing mint tea on hot Summer days.

Finally, no one goes away empty-handed. I pot up many of my plants from seeds, cuttings and seedlings each year so that I am able to share my bounty with anyone who has space to use it. I also gather seeds in late Summer and early Autumn and share these with family and friends too.

Paradise Gardens-the perfect retreat
To find Jaffa and Monster and Baby so sweet,
Home to the hedgehog, frog, toad and newt,
Peacock, red admiral and tortoiseshell cute,
Poppy, corncockle, and marigold too,
Daisy, anjelica and harebell blue,
And where can your eyes this treasure behold?
Why, at Barleycorn-
The rainbow's pot of gold!

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