A recent article by Nigel Slater vividly describes the various incarnations his garden has gone through in the past twenty years. The first iteration was designed by Monty Don over lunch and on the back of an envelope. The second, many years later, by Dan Pearson. Not all of us are so lucky to have such well-connected friends! But each change was inspired by the need to deal with a problem, whether it was a large family of boisterous foxes or the depredations of the box moth. What Slater points to is that gardens change (obviously) and that sometimes we can be forced into making changes which are an improvement on what we had already. In the business world ‘threats’ are re-purposed into ‘opportunities for change’. I don’t think this is always easy and I have been heartbroken to lose what I regard as old friends, but spaces and areas can be opened up in the garden which give opportunities to be more creative and to introduce something which you might not have tried before.
Many years ago, on one of my visits to gardens in France, I visited Le Jardin D’Agapanthe. I have never seen a garden quite like this anywhere else in the world. It was created by a landscape architect, Alexandre Thomas and includes no lawns, borders or views – the kinds of things you would normally associate with a garden, just winding paths of sand through lavish planting. It is at once romantic and exotic. There is an interesting inclusion of small stands or tables to raise plants above ground level and add interest. For anyone who loves pots, this place is inspirational.
When I have lost something in my garden I trawl back through photographs of places I have visited and loved to find new ideas and ways of using plants and spaces. Le Jardin D’Agapanthe is one that I often return to.
Have you lost a favourite plant recently? What “opportunity” did it open up? Let us know, write to firstname.lastname@example.org