Wanting to get away a little from the ‘jobs to do in the garden’ type monthly blog, I found my thoughts turning instead to what provides moments of pleasure and indulgence, realizing that for me these things are equally important to achieve, helping provide balance in approach and inspiration for the growing year.
A ‘to do’ list of indulgence for February / March
Sniff out scent. Taking the time this month to sniff out the many delights that some local (often municipal) planting is offering, the scent seems to have a greater clarity than at other times of year, the thrill of tracking down and finding the plant that offers a sudden sweetness to the air whilst going about everyday life is a delight. A particular favourite this month is round the back of Harveys in Lewes, Sarcococca confusa (common name Christmas Box) turning the corner you are suddenly struck by an intense sweetness, the flowers are small and pack a mighty punch for their size. Poking your face into a hedge can raise a few eyebrows and it totally embarrasses kids, but turn and look behind you and they couldn’t resist the urge to do the same. Other plants to keep nose out for that can be found quite readily in front gardens and open plantings are Viburnum x bodnantense, Skimmia x confuse, Mahonia x media, Daphne bholua
Take a walk. It’s been an odd winter that has resulted in things flowering at very odd times, things are flowering together that would never normally accompany each other. It’s like a planting plan gone wrong out there at the moment, but it’s great way to reconnect with the landscape and provides an early reminder that nature will always amend your plans.
Seeds, seeds and more seeds. February is when seed catalogue indulgence happens in my world, dreaming of the summer filled with exciting possibilities brightens even the greyest day. Previous years have also proven that early access to seeds invariably leads to over excitement and seeds being sown too early.
Visit a garden, and look at the evergreen structure, how it’s used to create structure in the winter and to see what’s coming to life. There’s a lot to be gained in visiting the same garden once in winter/spring and then again in full summer, it’s a real thrill to experience the space in such different times. The promise of spring and the floriferous indulgence of summer.
Take the time to really think about your growing space and what you want and need from it this year. This doesn’t initially seem like an indulgence, however taking the time to really think about our needs is all too often felt an indulgence that there isn’t time for. As a designer of outdoor spaces, I ask my clients many many questions to get to the root of what they need their garden to be for them, its only by really understanding what you need practically, emotionally, therapeutically, financially, and aesthetically that you can connect with your space and plan for the year ahead.
Plan a pot of total indulgence – something that is just for you, that just makes you happy, whether that’s a huge pot of mint by the back door for those emergency mojitos and soothing teas, a pot filled with your favorite scented loveliness, or a plant that provokes childhood memories. It’s our relationship with our space that will make the biggest difference to the growing season.
Catherine Cridland is a garden designer at Inviting Spaces - you can see more of her work at http://catcridland.wix.com/invitingspaces