A Not So English Garden

A Not So English Garden

A Garden is the Best Alternative Therapy — Germaine Greer

My husband and I have several very large gardens on our property – inherited from the previous owner who just happened to have a very green thumb. So, at some point every summer, I get the urge to garden – and that time is now.

Although I am far from having even a light green thumb, I do appreciate a well-kept garden. I especially love and admire the large fancy gardens and love to explore them whenever I have the opportunity. For instance, whenever I’m in England, I make it a point to view the large gardens at Hampton Court and the smaller gardens around the city and in the country. They are gorgeous!

THE ICONIC ENGLISH GARDEN

An English garden...

An English garden...


The English are amazing gardeners and they have amazing gardens! Gardening is even considered by many to be the nation’s most common pastime. From topiaries to fountains to hedge mazes and the legendary garden gnome, so much thought and care seem to go into the English garden. In the country, especially on the large estates, gardens are destinations for tourists and locals alike. I just don’t know how they do it and especially how they find the time to do it. 

WHAT’S IN A TRUE ENGLISH GARDEN?

Topiary - a necessity for a true English garden

Topiary - a necessity for a true English garden


But what is the quintessential English Garden? According to ICONS: A Portrait of England, the English garden has been influenced by many other cultures so it is a mix of international, historic, cultural, social, and individual influences. 

Whether a pretty cottage garden resplendent with rose bushes, honey suckle, sweet pea and primroses, or a grand country sprawl refined with its perfectly manicured lawn, the English garden in all its many forms has been an iconic part of English culture for centuries and continues to move with the times, growing and transforming yet all the while remaining one of England’s most coveted and celebrated icons. – ICONS: A Portrait of England

For those outside of the gardening world, the English may be considered borderline obsessive about gardening. I see it as taking great pride in your personal piece of Mother Nature, no matter how big or small that piece might be. 

GARDEN DREAMS

So here I am, thinking how my garden no where near resembles a true English garden. Yet, I have always wanted an English garden – from the time I was a little girl and saw the film The Secret Garden. I wanted the big, beautifully shaped hedges, the dramatically colorful flowers, an unusual topiary, and of course, a garden gnome.  

Let me clarify something  – I don’t absolutely love to garden but I want my garden to look like I love gardening. However, gardening has become almost a necessity when you have so many to keep up with and can’t afford to have someone else do it for you. Just yesterday I walked around the whole property for the first time since the big thaw and nearly had an anxiety attack seeing how the weeds had overtaken my flowers and how my overgrown hedges had very little of their intended shape.

GETTING DIRTY

My not-so-English garden...

My not-so-English garden...


This morning, I was up at 5:30 AM (just a habit) and out the door – rake, bucket, and gardening tools in hand. I weeded – yes weeded – for an hour and a half – until it was time for yoga. And let me tell you, after fighting with tough weeds for that long, I really needed to relax and center myself.

I went back into the garden this afternoon to tackle more weeds and other trimming issues, but finally admitted to myself that if Rome was not built in a day then Jennifer’s garden was not going to magically transform into an English garden in a day. 

But, nonetheless, I will keep pulling away at the weeds and hacking away at my hedges until they resemble my idea of a peaceful and inspiring setting. 

Then again, maybe I’ll just get the garden gnome and call it a day.

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