At this time of year when much of the garden disappears under layers of falling leaves, it is a great pleasure to take a rake and with a few strokes uncover pathways. It's only a temporary gesture, as very soon they will be covered by snow and remain that way until the Spring.
If gardening is "an act of disturbance", this was certainly the sort of gesture that reasserts ones control over this intimate place, and if gardening is a shared creation between gardener and Nature, then this is me having my say. Of course nature wins in the end, if these leaves were left unraked for an Autumn or two, then as they break down into humus,and it would take no time for tree seedlings to invade the pathway and reclaim for Nature this manmade thoroughfare.
This the pathway as Nature would have it.
The same pathway after a few strokes of the rake.
The design of this path was partly influenced by a Japanese design and partly by the need to adapt to the slim resources at my disposal, and to be honest I like this cottage garden ingenuity of using whatever materials are available. The stone pavers were left over from a friends kitchen renovation, they are set in an inexpensive gravel and edged with granite sets left over from another project..
Here are two examples of cottage garden craft of using "mixed paving" that I photographed in the South Cottage Garden at Sissinghurst.