Wednesday, April 9, 2014

An English Garden….?

One of my favorite memories is of being sent out to the garden that grew along the privacy fence of my English Grandparents yard to pick "new potatoes and mint" for dinner; boiled with salt and the mint,  and then eaten with Salad Cream, those potatoes were something I long for even today and try every so often to recreate.  

My grandparents left the narrow middle of their "yard" for sitting and planted beds along the three sides of the fencing; along with the potatoes and mint and beans, they also had flowers of every color under the sun spilling out and into the pathways.  Coming from acres of land here in the US, I was always amazed at what my grandparents (and Grand Aunts and Uncles as well) could grow in their small back yard.

The new layout of our back end will leave me with a small area to landscape and garden.  While I would love to recreate my grandparent's garden  along the fences of my back yard, there are things that I would have to contend with that my grandparents did not.  Several types of venomous snakes common to our area come to mind first, followed quickly by the fact that there is no neighbor on the other side of the fence taking time to make sure that weeds don't overtake their garden first and mine second!

So, there will be no overflowing combination veggie and flower fence gardening for me.  Instead, I continue to plant flowering jasmine to cover my fences and put fern and bulbs in the beds below them.  The fern grows so thick that it eventually grows on both sides of the fence choking out weeks that grow profusely in the irrigation ditches that surround us.  And every now and then those bulbs will poke up and through with a beautiful amaryllis or lily….but I won't have to reach into an overgrown garden to grab a veggie or herb and worry whether a snake has taken a nap wrapped around my potato…and I'll gaze at Florida Rose Bushes that need little more care than a cutting back every other year or so.

Instead I will plant Rosemary bushes all around the Gazebo and use fast spreading border grass as a ground cover between those plants…and build a rock garden with mint that will spread out to an area where for ten years grass has failed to grow….I'll grow my tomatoes and peppers and everything else in containers that alternate with the rose bushes and bring to mind those days of veggies and flowers all growing together…

I've given nods of acknowledgement to certain things that I loved about those English gardens; I used boxwood to line part of the patio path that leads to the Gazebo and I'm thinking about putting them in the little garden area that juts off the back door of the house.  It used to be used as an herb garden for old Mrs. B I believe but I've had no luck with herbs there…

Will the end result resemble the English gardens I remember from my childhood?  It's doubtful, but as long I can walk out my back door and down a garden path to pick a tomato or a pepper or cut a sprig of rosemary or mint, I'll be able to remember those summers with my grandparent's….and I can be content with that!

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