Garden changes, big and small

Our own gardens change every year, but usually the changes are small, and we see the gradual shift every day, so it’s not noticeable.  We can look back in photos and think “how small that maple was when we first planted it, and look how it’s grown”, or “that’s right, we had grass there before the patio.”

When we’re absent from a garden for a year or more, the change seems sudden



 to us.  And sometimes the change was sudden and we see the results.  Last year, we took our Charleston tour group to Middleton Place, and I took a photo of their old live oak (Quercus virginiana).  This year, we visited again and saw the tree much changed. Still lots of Spanish moss



 dripping from its arms, but one huge branch had been lost, and the difference was remarkable.


In 2006, we visited Inverewe in Scotland, just a year after a huge wind storm had taken out many of the trees that Osgood Mackenzie planted soon after he acquired the land in 1863.  Inverewe remains an impressive garden, and we loved the woodland walk as much as the protected walled garden down by the sea.03

Those gardens changed because of cataclysmic events; although she isn’t a hurricane, Helen Dillon changes her Dublin garden almost as swiftly.

The first photos I ever saw of her garden showed a long grassy corridor with dense plantings all round.  By the time we took our tour group there in 2004, the grass was gone, replaced by a formal pool, which perfectly sets off the garden.04

I meet up with Helen occasionally where we are both speaking, and every time I see her, something has changed in the garden.  She ripped out the red border, and now she’s changed the front entrance terrace into a birch grove.

We’ll take our group to Helen’s garden on next summer’s tour, and who knows what we’ll find.  Change, for sure – change is the norm, in gardening.


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