This page is my best attempt at a sketch of the whole garden. I find having this pretty helpful now. If I compartmentalise each section I can get around it all in endless happy loops.
When we first moved in I took a tour with the owner we were buying the house from. A fantastic gardener of course. I scribbled frantic notes with as many names as I could phonetically scrawl into my pad and sub-notes of what likes to be pruned and when, how much. What doesn’t like to be pruned. I tried to memorise all the inhabitants of these green spaces as they were about to fall into my relatively inexperienced hands.
At first I started a scrap book which I still have somewhere. The garden changes so much season by season I quickly realised that I couldn’t remember where everything was, as the plants went to sleep over Winter. Soon enough I just took photos, which I am very grateful for now as I have hundreds over every stage of the year and every square foot of the garden. I’ve started to categorise and order everything.
I made loads of mistakes of course, for example planting a new rose right next to a sleeping Nepeta that then engulfed it. ‘Pruning’ a japonica (isn’t practically everything some kind of japonica)?! Then it promptly becoming a wasteland of dried sticks. It’s still there albeit a skinny version, but I’m not sure if I caused this devastation or not!!
Despite mistakes and successes the one thing that I am sure of is that it’s best to get stuck in. The sooner you plant something the sooner it will grow. The sooner you get to know a garden and look after the plants within, the longer it lasts and the more beautiful it looks. The birds and bees love it too. Gardening is a happy thing to do. If you don’t make it a chore and instead make it your own, it will reward you ten times over.