by Dick Handscombe, holistic gardener author broadcaster and speaker.
Many of the more interesting gardens we have visited have sweeps of coloured flowers and lots that stimulate one’s senses positively and many of the gardens are split into a series of linked mini-gardens. Even having four mini gardens on each side of the house, with each one having a special feature that adds interest, can prompt one to walk the entire garden regularly.
Many features don’t take long to add and could be in place before the hotter weather in June, or they can be designed during summer sunbathes in order to take action during next winter.
The following are popular features:
Fountains, or a Fish Pond with fountains, to add the cooling and relaxing effect of moving water and the graceful movement of fish. You might also be able to save the local population of frogs before the last natural swamp in the area is filled in for building or road widening.
An Aviary with part of the flying space covered and sheltered from the hottest suns and cold winter winds and part in a tree in the sun.
A Colourful Rockery requiring no watering once plants are established.
An Outdoor Covered or Open Cooking Area, perhaps even a complete kitchen. This will allow you to move on beyond barbecue food to use Paella pans, tagine lidded pots, a solar cooker for grilling or stews, cook eastern style in a wok, or cook South American style with a clay oven. (Our book ‘Authentic Valencian Paellas’ is now in English and Spanish.)
A Gazebo for summer shade or living in during the winter months housing a collection of plants in pots. The gazebo could just be for resting in a comfortable chair or lounger, or to cover a fish pond, or eating table and chairs for a dozen people.
A Formal Herb Garden with space to sit, preferable in the dapple shade of an adjacent tree.
One or two Raised Beds to house plant collections or grow vegetables.
A Green House and adjacent potting table for raising new plants from cuttings or seeds.
A Hen House with a couple of hens. They make great pets and at many times of the year will produce eggs every day.
A Summer House for shade, the outdoor summer office and overwintering garden furniture.
One or two Evergreen Shrubs trimmed into interesting shapes. Topiary can evolve into an interesting and challenging hobby.
A Wild Area using just local wild trees shrubs and perennial plants to stroll around and attract local wildlife.
A Jacuzzi as an alternative or supplement to a swimming pool.
A Children’s Garden and activity area for your own children or visiting grand-children.
An Old Fashioned Telephone Box to be used for taking or making mobile phone calls so as not involve the whole family and neighbours. It could also be the sound proofed hide away to practice the guitar or other instrument.
That should be enough ideas to add interest to most gardens. Happy creativity sessions in deciding what to do.
© Dick Handscombe