Monday, 10 February 2014
'The Untidy Gardener'
'The Untidy Gardener' is not only the title of one of the gardening books on my bookshelves but could just as well be applied to me. This tendency sometimes has drawbacks but sometimes bring unexpected pleasures.
As yet another rainy day rules out attempting any jobs in the garden, I waited for a clear break in the skies and briefly squelched round the estate earlier this afternoon. The area behind and at the side of the greenhouse is a bit of a dumping ground and is in need of a blitz to make it more respectable. I spotted a hellebore seedling growing out of the slate chippings there either two or three years ago. I debated pulling it out as I already had other hellebore seedlings vying for my attention. I debated potting it up. I debated whether to just leave it where it was to see how it would get on and that is what happened. This hellebore was winking at me when I came across it today - not perhaps a star amongst hellebores but still much appreciated.
'The Untidy Gardener' by Elizabeth Cragoe was published in 1984 and although the book is no longer in print it is still possible to find second hand copies. The author is faced with tackling three and a half acres of overgrown land surrounding the house as she creates her garden in west Wales. Apart from a garden plan at the front the rest of the book is without drawings or photos but the words are sufficient. The author's main interest is in growing wild flowers and she writes "I want the garden, ideally, to develop in such a way that it does not demand too much in the way of actual gardening. As I get older , I trust that the trees and shrubs that I am planting now will, in growing up to maturity, take over a good part of the decorating of the garden, and that the wild flowers , whose cultural requirements, once understood, are simple, will do the rest ... It is partly because of my predominating interest in growing wild flowers that I have called this book 'The Untidy Gardener' ; but, really, another word is needed , a word that implies not so much the opposite of tidiness, as its irrelevance - 'a-tidy' rather than untidy. Wild flowers want to grow very freely, but, in their heyday anyway, they are seldom messy".
What about you - would you have pulled that seedling out or allowed it to grow on?