Creating the perfect spot in the garden, photo by Arno Smit
Do you have a favourite spot in the garden? What makes it special? Is it the furniture you sit on ? The view? The plants that surround you? The feeling of escaping?
My attitude to gardens was shaped hugely by my grandparent’s garden. They lived in a two up two down semi-detached pebble-dashed house in Staffordshire, but the garden was huge. It was long and sloped, the first section rows of rose bushes and chrysanthemums which my Granddad would enter in shows, surrounded by three neat paths through the edges and middle of the garden.
A washing pole marked the start of a lawned section of garden where there was a bench under some trees and next to this some giant rhubarb leaves. I think you could look out over the greenhouse at the bottom of the lawn to see the fields beyond. It was always a peaceful spot where we would play as kids, and the grown ups would join us to drink tea while taking a break from the garden.
More moss lined paths wound round the greenhouse and shed, past our secret den to an apple tree you could climb in, another big black shed we weren’t allowed in and a huge vegetable patch where we planted peas, carrots, potatoes.
The house I did most of my growing up in had a small yard, but the most stunning view of the Peak District. At the end of the yard Dad placed a sea worn plank he found on the beach at Harlech and that was our garden bench. I can see Mum sitting on it in the Summer, laughing with the neighbours who went to Italy every year, as they handed round Limencello and Amaretto.
Years ago, the Summer when Mr A and I bumped into each each other again in town while visiting our parents, we would stagger back from the pub and sit on that bench talking into the night. That bench has memories.
We had a garden table and chairs, now we have 3 chairs.. But I can’t settle on them. I come out of the back door, step on the decking, shuffle them and sit maybe for a minute at a time. So I guess I am coming to the conclusion that what my next garden needs is a bench. I like the idea of a fixed spot I can keep coming back to.
I also remember lying in a hammock with my mum, strung between two apple trees, the smell of lavender wafting by at my mum’s college friend’s house in a Cotswolds village. My brother must have been about three and he was pretending to be a dentist and inspecting mum’s teeth. Sigh. A hammock would be amazing.
What garden furniture do you have or lust after?