I love my garden: it is filled with flowers, and scent, and foliage, and wildlife (and children!). Some plants are soft, some are spiky, some are tall, and some are tiny. They gift me with all the colours of the rainbow. Some need tender care, coaxing into life, feeding and nurturing with care. Others grow despite me, sharing their glories with the world. Yet others challenge me to tame them and I do what I can. Still others offer their nectar to the bees or provide a hiding place for frogs.
Lamb’s Ears has the softest grey ears – of course it does! We love to stroke them and the bees adore the tiny purple flowers. It grows in the poorest of soils. It is a true heroine among plants. I don’t need to pay it much attention: it has enough self-esteem and character of its own.
There’s a Magnolia Susan that has a special place in my heart, because my mum bought her for me when I first made this garden. Some plants get you like that. The spring flowers are goblets of the deepest cerise. My magnolia will grow on and on, marking my family roots in the way that plants can.
The Wisteria that cloaks my back wall was planted tiny, but has thrived without much intervention. I love its giant purple flowers, on bare stems, with their powerful scent. I get to see it twice, because wisteria flowers around Easter in Portugal and invariably I’m there just at the right time.
There’s a stunning pollarded Indian Bean Tree (Catalpa Bigonoides Aurea) in my front garden. Passers-by ask what it is, so I make sure to remember the Latin name. It has huge yellow leaves, massive things that flash like beacons in the late afternoon sun. It’s taken years of pruning, but it has been well worth the effort to let it show off its true glory.
Then of course there are the bindweed, and dandelions, and thistles that challenge every gardener. I don’t exactly like them, but my garden would be less interesting without them keeping me on my toes. Hey, it’s all part of the fun.
It’s weird isn’t it? Plants aren’t all the same. They don’t all want or need the same treatment to grow to their full potential. A bit like children, really eh? That’s what my garden makes me think.