Thursday, 17 March 2011

Garden Inspiration...

As warmer, brighter, longer days gradually roll in, our enthusiasm for getting out into the garden grows too. But, beyond the basic tidying what should we do next? Where are we going with our gardens? Well, in this column I might highlight some new plants worth a try and give a few suggestions for jobs to do this week. But, to get the bigger picture, our gardening inspiration needs to filter through in many forms...

Telly could be top of your list with ‘Gardeners’ World’ or one of the other easy viewing Friday night offerings. The long running tried and tested formula of ‘Gardeners’ Question Time’ on Radio 4 might make an appropriate soundtrack to Sunday lunch washing up. Perhaps perusing the monthly magazines, sunday supplements and glossy gardening books is your chosen route to garden knowledge. Though, if you watched, listened and read all that is produced, there would be little time left to indulge in the real thing!

Garden centres and local nurseries are always stocked brim-full of tempting goodies to take home and grow. A visit to them can be an exciting, if expensive entertainment particularly if the urge to invest runs strong and self control is weak. A cheaper pursuit, particularly if you are in search of garden ideas rather than the plants themselves is just to keep your eyes open whilst out and about. The front gardens we pass every day are packed full of interest. But as a note on road safety, this sport is better indulged in as pedestrians or passengers. Drivers should keep their eyes strictly on the road ahead!
Best of all, is spending time in other gardens. Immersed in the atmosphere and enjoying the intimacy and character that has been created. All the big gardens of the region will be opening again very soon and as the best are right on our doorstep, season passes are a great way of getting to know them as they evolve through the coming months.

My own favourites though have to be the ‘Yellow Book Gardens’, open under the National Gardens Scheme. These are smaller, normally private gardens opening for charity perhaps just once or twice a year. Horticultural inspiration in spadefuls awaits, with very often the finest of afternoon teas, delicious homemade cakes and homegrown plants for sale too. Discover for yourself these personal, particular visions of garden perfection. What greater examples of garden originality and artistry could there be?

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