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The established garden is the reflection of the owners personality, how do you tell your children that.

Sitting in the conservatory eating sandwiches Monday yes it was sunny, my Daughter told me the garden wanted a make over? “err why” you cannot see any of the fences for shrubbery and the paths are getting narrower. “Err yes” but tell me who wants to see fences? Our fences are nice and new and now they have added even more decking. I looked after her garden for years and no, you could not see the fences. Then came Dave, his idea of cutting back is to a foot below ground and anything over twelve inches high gets beheaded, I am sure in another life they called him Henry. All new fences with concrete posts raw and bare, not to my liking although Daughter is minimalistic in everything.

Short but definite answer was I like it, Mum and I made it, it stays as it is, any one getting a hedge cutter out will find it turned on them and they will be reduced to dust. In other words it reflects my taste not theirs and so it is with each and everyone of us though how do you tell them, those followers of fashion. Their Garden like the Kitchen and Bathroom have had more make overs than the so called celebrities, who needs it.


Frank...........couldn't agree more........these endless makeovers are a real bore and lack any sign of individuality.

Paths getting narrower is good too........stops you putting on excess weight


I knew someone whose lounge was almost always in a state of decorating! It was just insane not to mention a complete waste of money. I know what I like, and once the house is decorated I have NO intentions on doing it again for a long time! If I want a change I buy new cushions and move the picture frames around.

But just yesterday a friend (in America) was telling me her neighbour STRIPS the garden three times a year completely uprooting not just ALL the plants but the wood bark chippings so that it is "fresh" for the spring / summer / autumn season.

All the old chippings and plants are chucked straight into the bin - not even saved for next season. I only wish I had the money to do something like that so that I could spend it on established apple trees!


And anything that encroaches onto the grass and kills it is a bonus.


Sorry Lyn, Being fully detached and getting very long in the tooth my two lawns are a godsend in work saving. The daughter likes those then a Herb Garden and what she calls the rain forest, the grand children love that and the Gnome searches I set up for them, well you have to hide them somewhere!!

Phillipa, my problem is not weight though I love things being hidden then coming into view as you progress along the paths, you want surprises. I got one last week when I found the Deutzia in full wedding gown bloom, one minute nothing next minute a blaze of white. My last Peony well and truly staked is coming into bloom, the oldest and best, a mass of red. That to me is a garden the hidden bits, turning a corner and being pleasantly surprised, standing in the conservatory and seeing it all in one eye full is not for me, note tell Daughter when she returns from Cyprus.



Frank........yes, the surprises are always a bonus..........imho  gardens should be explored rather than everything visible immediately. Tho having said that, a nice open vista can be attractive too............but you need the acreage for that I think

Sorry......wasn't meaning you were podgy.....altho I still think it a good wheeze for those of us who indulge in a bit too much of the good stuff

Philippa, Capability Brown did Vista and I am not a lover having seen many of his creations, much prefer the winding paths and open spaces appearing from behind wooded areas. It probably comes from being a soldier, we never liked wide open spaces, bit of a bind when they sent me to the Desert.

Podgy would have been true five years ago but careful diet got me down three waist band sizes, chocolate now makes me ill so I indulge in a little Scottish fire water with some gentler water now , purely medicinal of course.


Interesting thread.

The established garden, as Frank said, is a reflection of us. WE like it that way for our own personal reasons.  

The lawn...I have 2, neither is esp large..... IS a labour saving thing.  People remove it to save on work but cutting grass regularly is not a chore but a pleasure and I do mine very quickly.  The lawn provides a recreational space that's far more comfortable to,the eye and to,the bottom than paving too. 

Not convinced by this " not seeing all the garden in one go" either.  Can't see mine like that anyway, but what is so wrong about seeing as much  as poss in one view?  Why the requirement for surprises?  It's like giving a child sweets one by one instead of the packet!  

In the summer, with herbaceous plantIng so tall, there will be more pockets of surprise anyway but we don't half make a lot of pompous fuss sometimes about what the garden "means".  Chelsea is a good  example of this......most of us wanted to see the plants not the "significance" of every stone, plant, stump or whatever 


A change is a good thing if you feel you no longer like what you've created, but I would never just chuck plants out. I have loads of fences here and they're horrible and are being covered. I don't know why anyone would want to look at them in preference to plants. What I find funny is when people see lots of planting they automatically think it means lots of maintenance. The opposite is often true. Lots of greenery - in the form of shrubs in particular - saves  lots of weeding, and is beneficial to everyone, especially wildlife  

I think we're always tweaking our gardens and if something doesn't perform well then it can be moved or given away. Design in gardens reflects social change - it's been that way for thousands of years - but no one should dictate to someone else regarding what they like to plant in their own plot. Advise perhaps, but nothing more..

Frank..........yep........there's always a difference between admiring someone else's vision and wanting the same thing closer to home.

Not all the "big" landscapers appeal but on the whole, I'd prefer them to the likes of that chap who used to be  big on "makeovers"..........Dermot? Gavin ?....something like that..........the one who was big on "features"........often used to advocate the use of mirrors and glass panels........deadly in the garden..........I think he used to pop in the odd plant occasionally, presumably when reminded by others he was supposed to be doing a garden

Here's hoping it is a nice evening where you are so you can sip your "medicine" and contemplate what sounds to be  a lovely garden

Scott Edwards

I had a church member that was 93 years of age and was living on her own. Her niece wanted her to move into a nursing home and on every possible visit tried to persuade her. My church member listened politely and then said 'Darling, I'll give it some thought and moved on to another subject.' She might not have been as young as she once was but she was as sharp as a pin. She had absolutely no intention of moving and died at home as she wished. So, the solution is to politely listen and never agree to anything they are suggesting. 

Verdun......I don't think "surprises" are actually a requirement  If you want a whole packet of sweets at once, that's fair enough ......but once you've pigged the lot at one go, nothing else to look forward to (and could make you puke as well)

I think this thread demonstrates already how we stamp our imprint on our gardens..........the more differences the better in my opinion.  Some of us like to survey the whole of our estate in one go.......others like to wander and poke around and spot something they had maybe forgotten about or just hadn't noticed particularly.

Whatever, all good for the soul.....and I know you would all agree with that

interesting thread, we moved to a house where the previous owner was a plant lover, and, i've found out, a lecturer a horicultural history, so very well stocked, but we obviously do not share the samt taste in plants, except the peonies and i wish they were pink not red,!

Shrinking Violet

We all garden in our own individual style - and there is no "right" or "wrong".  However, the desert that is acres of decking/paving, the bare fences that are the full stop on the horizon - they destroy the joy of the garden imo.

My garden is vastly different from when we first moved here.  The beech hedge (never again!  What a nuisance and what hard work that was) is gone.  The fences have been softened by clematis, honeysuckle and a few self-sown contoneasters.

The rotting apple trees are no more, but the vegetable plot is productive; the rather odd bit of soil that surrounded a magnolia stellata has been extended to an ericaceous bed (an absolute picture of colour with rhodos, azaleas etc), the vast swathe of lawn has been visually broken up with an island bed, and the swimming pool is now a pond, with a waterfall and a lower pond feature - not designed as a wildlife pond as such, but full of frogs, toads, newts, dragonflies, fish and many unidentified water critturs. 

It pleases us - and suits our lifestyle.  And that's what a garden is all about - the space that reflects us, and suits us.

And as for the planting?  Well, a lot of it is full of memories:  mum's ice plant, aunt's Elephants' Ears (no - not hers - bergenia ), a couple of roses given as Silver Wedding presents, hardy geraniums from a dear friend, phlox from a cousin . . .  not Chelsea, but Mine!  And I wouldn't change it for the world!!!

That said, we hope to move to a smaller place (it's taking a while, the housing market being much slower in the West country that in the Home Counties) but my precious plants are divided and potted up to go with me;  a new challenge awaits!

Hi Frank! - I reckon it's got something to do with our age..................!      and we belong to the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" brigade.  Why make changes simply for change's sake - and when you get past a certain stage in life, fashions don't matter either.

If - oh if - I had rolling acres of parkland to play with, I'd love the sort of vista you get with some stately homes, but even then there's often a rose garden or something small-scale too.  My own garden is surrounded by fields, so I make do with that - actually I'm looking out over a huge area of potatoes at the moment - you'll be eating them one day soon in the form of crisps (or is it frozen chips they're going to end up as.........?)   By this time next year the field will be grass again - it needed re-seeding anyway as the sileage made last year wasn't the best quality, hence the need to plough & deal with it.  The potato people are doing part of the job!  Once the crop is gone, they'll cultivate/re-seed and then - apart from the cattle which used to graze there - my view will return to what it has been in the past.

I can't see the whole garden at a glance - it's in three parts right/left/rear of the house - &  the smallest part of the garden is hidden behind the garage/storage shed and that's where I have my little veg plot. The local rabbit population has exploded this year (potatoes instead of their usual space?) & many of the bunnies have taken up residence in my shrubberies.  They eat  (or sample) - any-and-everything, so there's not much chance of things like the odd few summer bedding plants surviving.  The only things they've not managed to destroy are those in the tallest planters/pots which are too high even for a rabbit on tip-toes.  The dogs are enjoying things though - but I'm not exactly thrilled to have to remove (as I did earlier today) a dead baby bunny which they were squabbling over in the hallway.  The other day one of the dogs brought a dead rabbit in & put it in his bed in the kitchen.  Oh well...........  whippets were bred to catch rabbits, weren't they!


Hypercharley...........I don't know about everyone else but I am enjoying the idea of Rabbits on tiptoe around your pots............God forbid they start wearing those hugely tall Jimmy Choo jobs......I'll keep my fingers crossed for you

the tidy gardener


listening to radio 4 there is a funny series with Ronnie Corbett "when the dog dies" about this chap who's horrible son in law wants him to move into a home. it doesn't matter how many times he tells him he doesn't want to, they don't listen. this week they told him they'd reserved him a flat in "farewell towers"!!

I know my parents worry about this problem and my dads garden is getting too much for him now,and he refuses my offers of help.what to do?!

Well, Expectations were a couple of replies though all my old friends and cohorts have appeared, where have you been hiding? Yes Charley we are old school and also as an engineer that was my motto, "if it aint  broke don't fix it" brought up on farms we both know it true.

To me there are no rules, no fixed lines, no fads, no fashions, you garden as you feel, my first 18 years were with a walled garden with no view but the garden 12 foot walls two sides a house and stables t'other and a 10 foot wall pigsties hen houses a huge midden on the fourth, to look out you climbed a ladder and then fields as far as the eye could see. The whole focus was on a working garden that fed us and the extended family through the war and long after. Every inch of wall was used for fruit trees, Green houses, and even a vine, the actual garden which had four seasons with in its walls all year round grew vegetables all year round, the pigs were fed on the waste from those plots, nothing wasted really. Years of travel many gardens later I am settled with what I have so Daughter dear you do your own thing with your own garden and leave me with memories of Joan in mine, it pleases me and that is all that matters.


Hello again Frank - I suppose that we've learned to be patient and neither want - nor expect - "instant" results in life.  One of the things I've enjoyed is being able to stay in this house for over 20 years and see some of the things I planted in the early years look now as though they've always been there.

I used to think - as far as fashions in houses etc go - that it was just kitchens and bathrooms which people simply "had" to replace as soon as they moved in.  In most cases "have to" is no more true than anyone "having to" spend a fortune on what look to me like the sort of trousers which are only fit for the rag-bag! Now it looks as though people aren't happy merely to amend/adjust things in the garden either.  Oh well - it'd be really boring if we were all of the same opinion, wouldn't it?!

Funny that your daughter's gardening style is so different from your own Frank, I am my Mother's daughter in that respect.  I remember people thinking she was mad for having no lawn laid to the rear of her new build years ago and when I moved into my house the first thing I did was start digging up turf to plant trees and put in a pond (before the boxes were unpacked).  The neighbours must have thought I was mad but I had already drawn my plans for the garden before the sale was complete!  We both have lots of trees, shrubs and perennials in our gardens and no soil showing.  I am lucky enough to still have my Grandad with us and he always comments on the weeds in the strawberry patch as he always has a neat lawn and edges and hoed soil.  I suppose I have taken on both their influences as I do feel guilty when I see weeds in my more 'formal' areas.