Once upon a time I was a carefree gardener. You know the sort – buy a plant somewhere, take it home, dig a hole and shove it in. A chaotic garden seemed fine to me. All this hole digging kept me fit and justified the purchase of an over-sized garden shed as I needed somewhere to keep the spade.
Then one day I chanced upon a website called Thinkingardens, run by one Anne Wareham on behalf of the Thinkingardens Group, which itself seems to be some sort of autonomous collective of people with opinions about gardens. And this got me thinking. No more carefree “bung it in somewhere”; now there had to be a plan and that plan had to be well thought out.
So physical activity gave way, at least in part, to mental activity. The 32-inch waist that had been my pride and joy for the whole of my adult life suddenly grew to 34 inches, even to 35 temporarily. Meanwhile, as a result of increased activity, my brain became much leaner; I have to avoid moving my head too quickly now or the noise of brain bouncing around in the cerebral void becomes deafening. Mystically, though, the increase in waist size hasn’t been accompanied by a corresponding increase in weight. I remain a stupidly static 11 stone! The relevance of these statistics will become clear later!
A little while ago I decided the time had come to meet some more of these Thinkingardens people so I took advantage of a get-together kicking off at Anne’s garden (Veddw in Monmouthshire) and ending with a discussion over dinner (which, for some inexplicable reason, the Group calls “supper”) in Tintern (also in Monmouthshire).
I’ve always been a bit iffy about the grasses parterre at Veddw but, of late, I’m revising my opinion. Perhaps it’s a case that I’ve never been able to look at it properly. (Images are clickable)
I’ve taken to writing things down in a notebook so I don’t forget them. I’m currently on notebook seven, not because I’ve filled six but because I can’t remember where I’ve left them. I took my notebook with me to make some notes but forgot to take it out of the car. So, sans notes, I don’t remember much about the discussion other than several references to Tracy Emin’s bed which, I assume, didn’t have plants in it. And there was something about Persicaria being invasive (or was it pervasive?). Well it’s not invasive in my garden anyhow; indeed, I wish it would clump up a bit more as it still looks a bit juvenile after several years.
But aside from the totally memorable discussion, we had the opportunity to wander round the garden at Veddw “out of season” (if only by a few weeks). Cake was on offer but, somehow, the thought of eating cake at Veddw was so revolutionary that I couldn’t bring myself to eat more than a biscuit. I mean, I’ve never been able to eat cake at Veddw even if I’ve taken it with me!
Fellow gardener and blogger Paul Steer took a break from flagellating his garden to quietly mention that he was trying out his new Canon G15 camera (mine is an out-of-date G12). However he forgot to give the traditional warning of impending shutter operation (you know, “say ‘cheese’”) and so caught us unawares, neither smiling nor covering our heads with brown paper bags. Anne, on the other hand, did give some sort of warning but was using a camera with a broken lens which, somehow, made everyone look a lot fatter than they are in real life. In her collection of photos here I look a lot bigger than my 34 inches!
Meanwhile I, with the odd exception, confined my photographic activities to photographing “things” rather than people.
And we all had a jolly good time.
Which, at the end of the day, is what gardening is all about and what really matters.