As predicted, yesterday afternoon temperatures dropped. Rain turned to sleet and snow, quickly dusting and revealing the garden borders and meditation circle.
It is sunny this morning. The snow will soon depart, but the image leaves me contemplating why my garden design has become so stuck. I have not given it enough attention in recent years—I know that. But even when I was actively trying, I never dreamed big enough it seems.
I say that because recently my husband and I have begun watching episodes on Netflix of two British reality TV shows on landscape gardening.
One featuring Monty Don is titled Big Dreams, Small Spaces. In this series he visits lucky home gardeners, hears their goals and plans, makes suggestions, then returns once to check on progress, and a final time to reveal the results to his viewers and celebrate with a glass of champagne with the garden owners family and friends. By the end of the show the home gardeners have cut down trees, invasive vines and cleared rubbish; built walls, ponds, terraces and pathways; planted orchards, installed living walls and created multiple borders around their property all full of hundreds of English garden flowers in full bloom.
The other show is a bit of a tear jerker, but it is more interesting to me. Love Your Garden features horticulturist Alan Titchmarsh. This show’s premise has him going around the U.K. providing garden makeovers for deserving citizens. The garden owners are sent away for a while (exactly how long is not clear) while a team of experts comes in creates a garden customized for the owners needs and interests. I like this show better because there is more effort to introduce and describe the plants being used, money seems never to be an issue, and the labor it takes to do such projects seems more accurately portrayed. There are a few awkward contrivances, nods toward the reality show template that try to hype or to create drama, tension or humor—the show would be better without these distractions—but the episodes are full of information.
Both of these shows do a good job of showcasing public and private gardens where one can find inspiration for solving similar garden problems. Only one season each of these British shows are currently available, but I hope more will be released here.
While I am dreaming of a complete garden overhaul, I am curious what you think. Are you familiar with these garden icons? Do you study their books? Have you watched the shows? Where do you find inspiration?
Seven years ago, on January 7, 2011, I wrote my first pbmGarden article. Since that time I have been honored by your presence at my humble garden gate.
Initiated as a record-keeping discipline while I was working through some garden improvements, this blog has ended up being a source of deep personal satisfaction. You, dear readers, are the reason. As the garden grew, friendship sprouted. You have cheered me on with your own garden wisdoms and encouraged my efforts large and small.
We share a love of nature, we savor gardening moments, we find energy, solace and joy among the trees, birds and flowers. Through our gardens we are nourished.
It is a pleasure to have you visit. May our paths cross again soon.
Looking Back At 2017
Floral designs created for In A Vase On Monday were the majority of my posts this year, but there were some noteworthy moments in the garden itself. With emphasis on spring, my favorite time in the garden, here are a few favorites from 2017. Enjoy this quick view or click on a image to see the images full-size in a slideshow.
From mid-Summer: July 19, 2017
In the meditation circle: Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis) on Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)
The spider-like flowers with protruding stamens make the Blue Dasher appear fairylike.
Preparing for the Fling on this rainy summer morning. Will be great to meet fellow garden bloggers.
Promising myself to work toward renovating the garden, I launched pbmGarden with an initial post on January 7, 2011.
Undoubtedly, making a public commitment in an online journal helped me stick to a few of those early improvement goals. The labyrinth and meditation circle is one achievement from that period.
In the intervening six years plants, plans and even enthusiasm for gardening have cycled through high points and low.
An unexpected benefit stemming from penning that first garden entry has been receiving the support of gardeners from many corners of the world. Entering the wonderful community of garden bloggers has been a joy. I thank you readers for your kind comments, helpful advice and generous spirit, all of which have led to genuine and cherished friendships.
Today the garden is decorated with a winter coat of white, just a couple of inches of fine powdery snow, though six to eight inches had been predicted. The smaller amount is cover for a treacherous icy layer beneath.
For those of us living in this area, temperatures are extreme, as this forecast illustrates:
SAT SNOW AND SLEET 27°F/ 8°F
SUN MOSTLY CLEAR 27°F/ 1°F
MON PARTLY CLOUDY 31°F/ 16°F
The exact numbers keep changing but frigid cold promises to make traveling the little winding curving roads leading out of my neighborhood dangerous to nearly impossible for the next few days. In the fifteen years of living here, snow plows have come through only once.
Normally I would not mind waiting it out but this has proved a particularly frustrating and disruptive weather event, affecting a planned all-weekend activity and threatening an important appointment for early Monday. Deep sigh. Deep sigh. Deep sigh.
Lessons learned from walking this meditation path are more valuable than ever today.
Breathe in. Breathe out.