My concentration flew out of the automatic door and instead of talking money, I found myself daydreaming about that golden era of undefined structure: school summer holidays. If I had a superhuman power, it would be the ability to disappear down a rabbit hole or some similar fairytale conduit and be transported back to those blissful summer days when I was nine years old.
I yearn for undefined structure in every area of my life with one exception: the garden. For me, a garden without clearly defined structure is like a human without a skeleton or a dancer without core strength. Many of us don’t think about our own skeletons until something goes wrong and we behave in much the same way about our garden bones, probably because, like a skeleton, structure in the garden can be such a quiet influence that it is easy to overlook it.
|A garden with strong bones|
East Ruston Old Vicarage, Norfolk*
Structural planting does not have to be evergreen as the photo above shows. Herbaceous perennials and grasses might also be used structurally, but whatever plants we select, they absolutely must be reliable in that position in the garden, for if they aren't, we will notice. After all, the peculiar thing about bones is that we tend to forget them when all is well, but they niggle like crazy when something goes wrong.
I will now get off my soapbox and go outside, but first I must tell you about my biggest regret in our farmhouse garden. You may remember that we installed rabbit fencing last year. I must report that it has been completely successful. Clearly this is disappointing news for my superhuman powers.
* The last three photos were taken at a truly inspiring garden, East Ruston Old Vicarage. www.e-ruston-oldvicaragegardens.co.uk