Saturday, December 15, 2012

Good bones

While watching my renovated garden grow and gradually take shape – it probably won't be fully 'grown' until late summer – it occurred to me that what my supposed 'renovations' really have been all about is merely changing the filling which goes in between the unchanging good bones of our fundamental garden design.

Confused? Well, it's rare for me to bother about garden design, because it's not a topic which interests me all that much, but I do believe that a set good bones on which you can hang all sorts of growing green garden clothes is important. Now, it all started back in 2001, when Pammy spotted this photo, below, in an article written by a friend, Cheryl Maddocks.

"I want this" was Pam's simple, direct request, and I liked the
idea immediately. Maybe it's because we have a shed at the
back of our property that made this simple idea so appealing,
but a central path to the door of the shed, with little path-lets
off to the sides formed the bones of this design. What is actually
grown in between the little squares doesn't really matter.
In the photo above it's vegies and flowers, and these change
throughout the year as the summer and winter crops change.
That's pretty much what happens in our garden, too.
If you click on this photo it should come up a lot bigger (I hope).
I took a bunch of photos this afternoon (on a cloudy day) and
then whipped them into Photoshop, to produce this 'panorama'.
In the 'squares' on the left side I have various crops of vegies coming and going. Gaps appear when whole lettuce are yanked out and new seedlings go in. On the right side the first two 'squares' house flowers such as Plectranthus and Tibouchina 'Jules'. The third 'square' on the right is the succulent garden, and beyond it at the end, near the leaning lemon tree of Pisa, is the strawberry patch.

Ever since we've laid down the paved bones of our garden layout, I have dug up, changed and replanted the infill between the bones many, many times over. It's never the same, it's always changing, and yet it has a continuity over the years thanks to its structure.

And that's about it from me for a grand theory of garden design. I like good bones. Thank you Pammy for taking charge of the basic structure of it all, great idea, lovely bones!

Phew, I'm glad that bit is taken care of. For me gardening is all about the plants – I just love to help them get started in life, then watch them grow and help them along where I can. And the amateur backyard scientist in me is endlessly fascinated by everything I can discover and learn about the soil, the insects and all the other visiting wildlife. In between those paved bones there's a whole mini ecosystem bubbling with life out there beyond my back door. That's what I love about gardening.

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