What is a successful garden? Do you have a successful garden? I find myself wondering if I have a successful garden. I really love reading gardening magazines, especially those which feature native gardens and talk about birds, ecosystems and regenerative practices. I also enjoy watching ‘Escape To The Country’ which is an English programme featuring not only gorgeous houses but also ‘to die for’ gardens. Maybe this is why I wonder if I have a successful garden………….because I measure up my garden against these designer offerings. Not only are they designer gardens but you can be sure that the shrub which is dying will not feature in the glossy photographs. The plant with the munching caterpillars won’t be there either and nor will the tree blown over in the wind. The garden help are likely not to get a mention and what’s more rain will fall at just the right time to keep everything looking fresh.
The definition of success is ‘the achievement of something that you have been trying to do’. So what is a successful garden? It is a garden that is unique to you and uniquely suited to your purposes. It is a garden that is pleasing to your eyes and to heck with everyone else. If that purpose is to show it off in ‘House and Garden’ or ‘Country Style’ magazine then so be it. You will need to have designer tendencies or employ someone who does and everything will need to be ‘just so’ at all times. If you can do this you will have a successful garden. However if you desire a garden as a place for relaxation, the kids to run and play, birds and bees to find food, and where you can smell the roses, and it serves its purpose then it is a successful garden too.
That is not to say that there are not ways and means of building a garden which is more likely to be pleasing to your eye. Balance, shape, form, colour, repetition, and a cohesive plan are all good things, but if you like a casual collection of plants, or you like neat rows then this is what you should have. Is it pleasing to your eye? Then that is what matters. You don’t need grand statements if you are not a grand statement person and you don’t need to feel you have to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ (or the horticulturist at your local nursery for that matter) in your garden patch.
That being the case the only important decision we each need to make is which plant to choose to fit that spot we have waiting, convince ourselves not to compare ourselves to others, and we’ll all have successful gardens.