Gardeners seem to be divided these days between the traditionalists who like to ‘put a garden to sleep for the winter’ and those who have bought into the theory that you should just abandon a winter garden to get on with itself. Abandoning it allows wildlife to do its ‘thing’ before you get going on sorting it all out in the spring.
I have just been visiting my good friend Sarah Langton Lockton (past gardening editor at The Lady) whose immaculate garden is open each year for the National Garden Scheme. Sarah is a traditionalist and her winter herbaceous borders are beautifully neat and have definitely been ‘put to sleep’.
Her vegetable beds are in apple pie order…
…and her pots of bulbs are weed free and neatly protected against birds….
– and marauding long haired dachshunds….. Not that Sarah’s marauding dachshund (code named Harold) looks as though he would do any damage at all right now…
Meanwhile, back in north London we are applying the ‘abandon it to get on with itself’ principle. To be fair, this is partly because the last few months have been so fraught that the poor garden has scarcely got a look in. But having heard a bit of a programme that was waxing lyrical about the wonderful time the wildlife could have in an ‘abandonned’ garden I decided to make a virtue out of necessity.
So far from being neatly ordered, my herbaceous patch looks seriously ‘wild’ –
..although it is a little better round the other side where the trusty heuchera are attempting to maintain a semblance of control.
And don’t even ask about the pond….
Is the poor fountain even still working? The garden lights certainly aren’t as I plunged our Christmas festivities into darkness by trying to turn them on Christmas night. I think an overdose of rain had breached their defences.
However, to finish on a slightly more cared for note…. I have just bought this amazing (and amazingly expensive) new bird feeder from the Really Wild Birdfood Company.
It is designed to defeat the craftiest squirrel, pigeon and paraqueet – and actually manages to do so! The bottom section is sprung and carefully weighted. So when a little bird perches and goes to eat, all is fine – but when a heavier bird or squirrel tries to perch it depresses the spring which lowers the whole section thereby closing the door to the food!! Gotcha!!!