Monday, April 25, 2011

What is a garden?

A very philosophical question I do think. But one that is in my head currently, despite the number of other things that should be there instead. I am in the process of writing my dissertation which is one of the many reasons why I haven't been on here lately.
I had planned to do a wordless wednesday post but my sister had my camera with her in Norway so that was out of the window. 

I have been spending almost all of my time lately sat infront of a computer manipulating data and/or writing the introduction for my Dissertation. With 3 weeks to go it is not 2,500 words out of a possible 16,000 words long! A long way to go...

But stress levels aside I have been contemplating the meaning of a garden, prompted in the most part by watching James May's Toy Stories, where he created a plasticine garden for Chelsea flower show. When he asked one of the other garden designers what he though of it, let just say he made it clear he didnt like it. But his main point was that a garden should be your heaven, your little slice of paradise that you would want to take with you to the afterlife. Which did sound more than a little pompous, but I did get the meaning behind it. 

But is this what we all see a garden as? Im not sure that it is, for some it is a space to relax, for others a space to entertain, for some a space to show off. Others it is a wholly practical place, to grow veg and keep the dogs entertained. 

Spending the last few days a M's parents house I have revelled in their wonderful garden. It is a lot of what I would wish I could have, a luscious and quite full veg patch, a large chicken run with 4 happily laying chickens, a large open area to entertain the dogs and have BBQ's and watch the sun go down and large well laid out beds full of flowers and colour, not to mention the most amazing smelling wisteria, which was trailing along a columned walk way but recently some of this has given up its fight against gravity and now it looks like a set of ruins. Which I have to say doesn't detract from its beauty. 

I have been here for a few days working on my dissertation and providing cold drinks to M and his friends who are rebuilding the shed roof. Very hot work! 
It has been such a nice atmosphere to get away from uni for a few days and be able to hear nature all around. 

In my day dreams away from describing the circulation of the Nordic Seas, I have decided that something like this would be my ideal garden, it is hugely practical with large veg bed and fruit trees but it also something that it is possible to loose yourself in. It is also not to prescribed, man has not stamped his mark on too much of the garden, yes there are stone walls and beds etc, but it is not like my parents neighbours garden, which as M put it is a typical suburban garden and so heavily landscaped it is almost unrecognisable as the garden I grew up knowing. I am not saying that I want this garden (although I wouldnt say no) but that the ideas which are strong here would be important to me.

Unfortunately with my tiny garden in Southampton it is going to be nearly impossible to have the practical elements and hide them away with a gorgeous display. But I think that the veg 'garden' will provide its own displays which will please me as much with its practicality (and a sense of acheivement) as it any other bed would with their aesthetics. 

This has been my view when sat in the garden working.

What is a garden to you? What is your prefect garden? and is it what you have or not?

I also apologise for the quality of the photos my iPhone is not so good for taking photos at the moment.


  1. Perfect? Makes me think of the plasticine version ;~) A garden is always changing (even the plasticine would crumble and fade to ickiness) Gardeners are notorious for saying- oh you should have seen it last week when ...
    We are waiting for a little more rain, so we can dig in the clay soil, and work at perfection.

  2. I hope you have had some rain now. We just received a load over the last two days, the garden was definitely needing it. :D

  3. A garden is a cultivated one not a mess or chaotic or dirty or unkempt/overgrown like a typical surburban garden area.