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 needs to be pruned when and how much or what shouldn’t 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 realised I couldn’t remember where everything was after the big 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. Well apart from that Japonica! 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.