It’s working. Two years ago with Susie’s help, I planted a B&Q buy-one-get-one-free special offer of miniature narcissus round the stone cairn built by Richard. Moss is doing a great job of covering the stone but the ground was a bit of a problem: too many weeds and it was difficult to mow the grass round the cairn. So we tacked a bit of plastic sheeting round the base, more like dressmaking than gardening, and planted the bulbs into it. And for once one of my planting schemes has actually done what I intended.


The most successful parts of my garden usually don’t have much to do with me at all. I lack the kind of mind that makes mathematical plans on paper – if a nice curve appears in the grass after Ray has driven the tractor over it that’s where the next border will be.

Last year I was excited to discover a beautifully artless approach to planting in Berlin. All the public parks and gardens looked so natural they seemed to be self-sown. I would love to achieve that look at Pond Cottage but I’m sure it is much harder than it looks.

geraniums.jpgI’ll come back to explore this subject a bit more when I have finished my week’s work on the new border(slightly to the left of this picture). My aim is to move as much self-sown stuff into cleared ground as I can – using gifts from Nature rather than spending loads of money in the garden centre. I have transplanted a crop of accidental foxgloves from the vegetable plot, I’ve got geraniums to split, and more periwinkle to dig up and I hope that last summer’s mulleins have seeded themselves under the trees, they looked great in autumn like ghostly grey figures lurking in the mist.

Admittedly I am topping up with an order of wild flowers from the excellent Alba trees nursery but I tried to pick only plants that would seed themselves around the place (geraniums, primulas, loosestrife) so that I don’t have to keep onplanting.jpg planting.

I have to face it, I’m just the kind of gardener who likes to wander round the place, cup or glass in hand, congratulating the plants on looking after themselves. But I am quite chuffed that the gardener can take some credit when I wander as far as the stone cairn. And thanks to Susie too.