‘Tis a while since I posted twice in a day! But important things have happened this weekend, and there is a decision I wish to record…

The House that Jack Built First – here is The House that Jack Built, fast getting ready for the spring season. There is still a lot to be done to the garden so that it says more than ‘end of a long winter’ when visitors arrive – but we are getting there! And then there is The Big House…

The Big House in earliest spring Last night I slept in the main bedroom for the first time – a week short of a year, Saturday to Saturday, since I first slept there when the vigil with my mother started. The Big House is becoming mine. And with it I feel myself unfurling like a spring magnolia. There is space to fill… It is a luxury I have not known since I sold my house in Johannesburg. But I love cosy, and did not miss space much, except that I also collect clutter. Then I moved into Trailertrash Cottage in January. Half the size of my cottage, and with a limited view, I soon felt claustrophobic, hemmed in by my endless generation of paper, living in my own detritus. I – and six dogs. And a winter which didn’t seem to end. Possibly Prunus cerasus  'Rhexii'

Can you see why this afternoon’s walk did so much to lift my spirits? I write this in short sleeves in front of the open window at night, and I revel in my blossoms and my magnolias. Above is a double white purple-leaved plum – perhaps Prunus cerasus ‘Rhexii’, below is the common but beautiful crabapple, Malus floribunda, and below that one of my many bushes  – of various sizes, colours and flowering habit – of Magnolia x soulangiana. All photographed this afternoon.

Malus floribunda Malus floribunda 2

magnolia x soulangeana I said there is a decision to record. It was one of those flash insights that make you wonder why it took you so long to find. I’ve been planning guest parking for day visitors – expensive and inconvenient. I suddenly realised how to solve it, simply, with the minimum of levelling, with easier entry and departure and with more space, hidden away from the main garden… and then I realised that the entrance to the garden would then naturally be along the axis of the Rosemary Terrace – my most formal vista. Bring them in to the formal and the manicured, and then let them explore the natural. Aha! Excitement builds. And the grooming of the garden looks more and more like an adventure and everless like a chore!

Rosemary Borders in 2006 A photostitched photo from 2006 – two pots flank the entrance from the front door axis on either side of me, and there is a high viburnum hedge behind me. At the far end of the lawn is the Italian pot surrounded by four abelia cubes. An ‘arch’ will be cut through the maples beyond it and a pergola will mark the new entrance from the car park which lies beyond the maples. This is the Rosemary Terrace, flanked by the Upper and Lower Rosemary Borders: the heart of my formal gardens.


9 thoughts on “TAKING OWNERSHIP

  1. Your gardens are wonderful! It is so refreshing to see gorgeous spring blooms! Your ideas sound perfect, and I know I would love to stroll through your gardens as you describe. Best wishes for your endeavors!

  2. Jack, I just loved the bubbling up of enthusiasm and joy in this post. Isn’t it wonderful when, after a long difficult spell, things start to come together. Everything is looking wonderful, and I think your new plans for bringing visitors in through the formal gardens is inspired. -Jean

  3. Dear Jack, the excitement in your voice is contagious! I am so happy for you, with the evolution taking place within and around you. To imagine spring now is inconceivable to me, as our interminable, droughty summer seems never ending. The carpark solution is brilliant. The visitors will be awestruck by the Rosemary gardens. 🙂

    • Thank you, Frances! One of the best things about blogging is counter-seasonality. (Or should that read hemisphericality ;)…) What I like best about the idea is that it really inspires me to get this part of the garden up to standard.

  4. Pingback: A MONTH FOR MORTALITY | Sequoia Gardens Blog

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