If we get a glimpse of heaven on earth it must be in a garden. At this time of year when an English garden is at its best it’s easy not to notice the blooms, particularly if you happen not to be the gardener yourself. And you’re always in a hurry. Or you are allergic to them: lilies are lovely but make me sneeze. I sometimes go out to snip herbs and miss the flowers, until Stewart draws my attention to them.
I have lots of ideas for our garden but I never implement them – Stewart does. The only time I tried to ‘help’ I thought I was weeding and pulled up flowers. I like to dead-head roses but how ‘dead’ do they have to be. Does wilting count? I like pulling up bindweed cos it’s vicious, as its name suggests. It pretends to be harmless with its white flowers and slim stems but if you miss it next time you look you notice that it has wrapped itself around healthy plants and strangled them. I always imagine the Prince would have cut his way through bindweed to get to Sleeping Beauty. A garden shouldn’t be too neat or manicured. The gardens at Chatsworth and Versailles are too perfect for my liking. I think nature should be allowed some freedom to spread where it chooses.
Perhaps everyone’s vision of heaven is different. My Dad’s will be full of hydrangea, roses, peonies and other big blousy flowers. When we had his garden done the gardeners added texture and variety through the planting of bamboo, ferns and other lush greenery. Dad’s response: ‘They were not proper gardeners, you got done’. Real gardeners use colour. There’s a hydrangea in Dad’s garden that I pass when I walk the dog. I expect he’s enjoying them in heaven.