Let gardens have jagged edges just as life does too
Published 23/08/2011 | 05:00
Farmers have a unique advantage over people in most other professions. Even the smallest farm covers an area that is beyond the wildest dreams of any town or city dweller.
This, in turn, provides the space to create gardens that are unique to their owners and will be enjoyed for generations to come.
Many old Irish farmhouses have wonderful trees and landscapes with maybe an ancient orchard and attractive stone buildings. Yet, even without these assets, just having open ground available to plan and plant according to our wishes is a pleasure.
The thousands of people who flock every weekend to show gardens and garden centres are proof of our keen desire to improve our surrounds, as are the efforts of those heroic citizens who work tirelessly on 'Tidy Town' committees.
One of the best means of gaining inspiration and ideas for improving the appearance of our own homes is to visit the many gardens that are open to the public during the summer.
Occasionally, however, this can be almost a depressing experience as you wander from one immaculately kept flower bed to another, knowing this is a standard of tidiness that requires too much hard work.
But the type of planting beloved of our city parks managers is really not appropriate for a rural garden, and it is here we can take the high moral ground and state proudly that at home we are busy leaving the seed heads for the birds to enjoy and that rough corner of weeds is actually a planned wildlife habitat. Manicured gardens and lawns have their place and I wish the very best to those who enjoy maintaining them.
But there is an easier and, dare I say, a better way which is to take a slightly more relaxed attitude and create something that doesn't demand such constant toil.