Worth the trouble?

by AnneWareham on August 13, 2012

Step Border, Veddw, copyright Anne Wareham

In the kind of weather we’ve been having it is impossible to keep a garden immaculate. And, besides, there will always be a time when something is past its best or has just been cut down or replanted. That’s the nature of the beast.

But there are other things which come purely from a kind of neglect. For a while, for example, I have been walking out of the house to see a border with pink Japanese anemones coming out.

House Border, Veddw copyright Anne Wareham



And right by them a Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’ had self seeded. And I would look, and think, no, that really doesn’t look good.

But it’s my own garden, so I would go on my way, cheerfully ignoring it. Why? Maybe because I didn’t fancy digging up a plant which had seeded right into the middle of another one…. Maybe because, it being my garden, I’m not sure I’m ‘worth it’.

It was only when I thought – ‘if I saw that in someone else’s garden I’d think it was awful‘ that I removed the flower. (though not yet the plant!) And then I started noticing there were other small infelicities like that. They tend to be things that I think only I would notice or care about – like colour clashes. Not the general chore stuff like weeds (though there are plenty of those).

Hard to see, but the picture at the top of this post, at top right hand corner, has a white Gardener’s Garter’s grass, which looked totally wrong and came out on the back of these realisations.

I think it is really important for me to try to walk round the garden looking at it as if I was that critical, demanding visitor. And then indulge that person with getting those small touches right.


Ha! There’s another reason. I’ve just been to look and noticed that the Crocosmia has seeded into the yellow bamboo,  Arundinaria viridistriata (Arundinaria auricoma ). I love the yellow and scarlet, so it was also a certain ambivalence held me back..

Looks great, but...

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John August 21, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Are you softening? Looking at your garden from the perspective of what the visitor wants to see rather than what you want it to be? In a small garden there is some impetus to remove anything that doesn’t conform to the plan but in a couple of acres, you can afford the odd surprise. And if someone else doesn’t like it, so what? It’s your garden, not theirs. Many regard ground elder as a pernicious weed but does that lead you to remove it to indulge the “critical demanding visitor”? By all means remove the crocosmia if YOU want to but otherwise leave it alone. Don’t use visitors as an excuse.

AnneWareham August 21, 2012 at 2:26 pm

No, my point is rather (clearly poorly made) that I should take my own needs seriously and put the same effort into satisfying myself as I would any other ‘critical demanding visitor.’ The fact that most visitors would overlook it but that it annoys me doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. I matter.