Too much of a good thing…
I’m sure we’ve all guzzled on too many sweets and chocolates that have been cloying and hollow pleasure. They leave us feeling quite sick at the end of the day. In contrast, we may prefer to nibble on snacks with a more savoury note such as cheese, olives and nuts. We find that this can be an altogether more satisfying experience. In the same way, when we listen to an easy listening catchy song on the radio, we are quickly tapping along to it. However, we find all too soon that this tune becomes increasingly annoying. In contrast, we find that music that is more soulful, gritty or classical may take a bit longer to appreciate. But at the end of the day, we find that it can be more interesting. It can have a deeper and more lasting appeal.
The same can be true of gardens. The colourful and floriferous herbaceous borders can look stunning in the height of summer. However, the blooms fade all too quickly. Visiting gardens centres, I can’t help noticing those big blowsy blooms that fill the plant area shelves. These are the eye candy that tempt passing customers into filling their trollies with impulse buys. It is these primadonnas that get the annuals and perennials flying out the door. The following week, those flowers’ petals are strewn all over the plant area floor. We are no longer interested in them and they soon gets relegated to the sales bench.
Gardens with a more lasting appeal
I find that it is often the more ‘savoury’, quieter and greener gardens that are more interesting. These gardens have an understated and much longer lasting appeal. The most inspiring and soulful gardens are usually the ones with plenty of well thought out garden structure. These gardens have graceful trees and plants with beautiful contrasting leaves and different textures.
Views are revealed to us gradually as we wonder round the garden. There are areas of the garden in which light and shade, with reflections and shadows have been created. These enhance our experience of the garden, making it more interesting, atmospheric, calming or spiritual.
The sound of trickling water or a cool reflective pool can also enhance the mood of the garden. And although it is not a riot of clashing colours, we can still find it to be stimulating and thought provoking. We can also create a sense of playfulness by hanging a swing from a tree. Or by placing some stepping stones to tempt us across a pond.
In conclusion, you might want to put back that impulse buy back on the garden centre shelf. It is worth taking a bit of time to think about the whole experience of being in your garden. If you make the most of some of the other elements in a garden, you might find that you can create a longer lasting appeal with a more savoury note.