Now that you have been following my gardening articles for the last five years your garden must be approaching perfection. We all know that the search for perfection is a never ending quest.
So now we move on to phase two, garden appreciation. On a beautiful summer evening take a relaxed walk around the estate admiring the beauty of the plants. Look at the colours of the leaves and the stems. As you have followed my guidance there will be flowers all the year round, so bask in the glory of the splashes of colour changing with the seasons. A little smugness is allowed, give yourself permission to think ‘I created this.’
My personal favourite method is to have a barbeque, then depending how freely the vino has been flowing either sit at the table gazing triumphantly around or take a little exercise, glass in hand admiring the flora. If you have guests you can talk authoritatively about all the planting combinations giving botanical names, a little inaccuracy can be excused after a couple of glasses. To appear knowledgeable always turn the leaves over and look at the underside, particularly with rhododendrons, it never fails to impress.
To get the birds to come close you must sit very still not looking directly at them and empty your mind, doing Tai Chi helps with this.
What you must never do is look around thinking, this needs pruning and the grass needs cutting, this path leads to madness and hard work. We are talking about appreciation and relaxation. The most that is allowed is to say to son or daughter ‘There’s a fiver in it if you cut the grass.’
Whenever my grandmother had finished a job she would always take the time to stand back and look at it, something we all forget to do these days. As W. H. Davies in his poem ‘Leisure’ wrote:
WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.