People ask me why would I go to the bother of opening my garden to the public- a valid question and here are some thoughts behind the why.
It was Mac Griswold who said “Gardening is the slowest of the performing arts”.
Ultimately this garden, or any garden for that matter, is a work of art and like any art work I think it should be seen by more than just its creator.
Like all art, this garden is an expression of my creativeness, obviously within the bounds of climate, soil and topography.
Letting others see my creation is like having an exhibition of your favourite painting, and that in itself brings its own reward.
This is one reason I made the decision to open the garden.
The other is that gardening it all its forms is something I need to do. It is a compulsion I have always had and I cannot imagine life without gardening. It is a part of who I am.
Although gardening is something I need to do, to garden without purpose is to me futile.
This conundrum is what my significant other calls my “Protestant work ethic”.
To spend countless hours toiling in the garden would be such a waste of time. There needs to be a purpose to my work. I have extensive areas of food production which certainly contains purpose but opening the garden gives me a further reason to get up and out into the garden each day.
So, given my compulsion to garden and my protestant work ethic, I was fortunate to be able to purchase this block as a blank canvas and it has allowed me to practice my art for many years.
It is a garden that was created slowly, without rigid design or instantaneous conclusion, it has evolved over 22 years and I can only assume it will continue to evolve.
Much of the garden has developed by me purchasing or propagating plants I would like to grow and then planting them in a new area. From here it was working out what worked or felt right and filling in the gaps.
Since I have a passion for trees they went in first which has led to a quite mature garden even though many of the areas are quite recently completed.
The garden has always been my solace.
Over the years, it has been where I have escaped to de stress from work (and sometimes the demands of children), solve problems, relax and work anger or sadness out of my system.
I would like to say it has been cheaper than therapy but I don’t think my bank manager would agree.
Ultimately there is no greater feeling of freedom then to be lost in the processes of gardening.
Regardless of how or why the garden was created and why I am now opening it to the public, what has emerged is a wonderful garden. A combination of spaces that fulfil all kinds of purposes – from playing or relaxing to contemplation – it is all here.
To have people use the garden to celebrate important occasions and help create happy lasting memories is such a privilege.
I hope you have the opportunity to see The Secret Garden and get to enjoy it as much as my family and I do.