Sunday, October 14, 2012

Revolution or Evolution ?

It has been coming for some time, last year I contemplated the removal of the two obelisk shaped beeches, that are a major feature in my garden. It has been evident for a decade or so, that they were planted too close together and were out of scale in my small city garden. The very mention of this to friends and neighbours was met with gasps of horror and I finally yielded and instead gave the two sentinels a very hard prune this Spring and I am now convinced that they can be kept in scale and are worth preserving.
Well, that was last year and I was still eager for change, this time looking at the lawn (in fact more of a green space) with a keen editorial eye. It was uneven, weedy and constantly under attack from skunks and racoons that tore up the sod in search of subterranean grubs. My inspiration was Japanese and Mediterranean gardens that used gravel as its open spaces, but the very mention of digging up the existing sod was again met with disbelief by my friends. I finally got my way and persuaded David and Jonas (both professional gardeners) to take on the job and, as luck would have i, in the October edition of the RHS The Garden, there was a short piece by Roy Strong entitled "Reinventing your Garden" that encouraged a radical re-edit.
Here are some quotes from the article:

 "What is it that happens to gardeners as they get older? Somehow after 60, mummification sets in, along with an inability to look at their garden with a critical editorial eye."

 ".. it reveals them as failing to understand one of the basics of horticulture: that gardens are about change, about perpetually adjusting a picture which will never be finished."

The starting point.




Out with the old...

In with the new!

The transformation begins.

Brick edging relaid.

             The finished product. Thanks David and Jonas, it looks great!


Paul Jung said...


Revolution? Evolution? Metamorphosis!

The garden has changed into something new, beautiful and exciting.

You won't miss the turf. The raccoons and skunks, more so.

It takes some amount of courage and hard-headedness to get rid of the grass, kudos that you have both!

LHawthorn said...

Much crisper! Congratulations on taking the plunge. I look forward to seeing what you do with this newly imagined space. Of course, bare feet are out of the question now....:-)

gardenbre said...


What a change ... more formal ... love the graphic high contrast - it really shows off the centre and symmetry - so beautiful to look out and have a nice new view!

danger garden said...

Oh no! You've planted a dangerous seed...I've been looking at my lawn with a critical eye lately and what you've dine looks fabulous!

hortmomma said...

Fabulous Barry! I am a long time proponent of pea gravel. I love the sound, texture and the way it sets off plants. It is perfect with all your troughs, pots and containers.

Peter Holt said...

It's fascinating how resistant to positive change neighbors and bystanders can be, isn't it? But the heartfelt gardener's instinct always knows best. Well, almost. In this case, yes: it looks great! And such dapper professional gardeners you have at hand. Maybe I'll start wearing a tie to perform grunt labour...

Stiletto said...

The end result justifies the means. Its much neater and lower maintennance. Lawn is in effect a time robber. You did right.

Helen said...

Barry, Your garden will always be an inspiration to me. Can't wait to see the real thing in its new attire.

Barry Parker said...

Thank you all for your words of encouragement.

Paul: We have to organize a visit someday soon.

Laura: See you on Wednesday.

Bre: Looking forward to showing this to you on Friday.

Loree: I don't think you need any encouragement from me to court danger. Your garden always looks great.

Hortmomma: Gravel Rules!

Peter: I only hire Dapper gardeners.

Stiletto: You're right, time is the most precious commodity.

Helen: I've watched the big changes in your garden this summer. There must be some revolutionary spirit in the air.

kilbournegrove said...

Loving it, (although I can't help but reminded of when Helen Dillon took up her lawn, remember how many people tried to dissuade her?). Looking forward to seeing it live and in person in the spring.
D xo

Caerulean Skies said...

Revolutionary, bravissimmo! A Zen, peaceful respite in the frenetic jungle!