However, even the grande dames across the pond, such as Penelope Hobhouse, are not to the trowel born but learn the hard way. Penelope was born in Northern Ireland and earned an economics degree from Cambridge. Leafing through old garden magazines for inspiration on this cold rainy day I cam across a list of her ten rules for gardeners in an old edition of Garden Design magazine:-
Ten Rules for Gardening
- Always have a notebook with you. To garden is to learn, write down the cultivar names and details of growing conditions you think you’ll remember when visiting gardens, but never do.
- Find a mentor -- the more the better. She gladly acknowledges all the talented designers and plantsmen she’s learnt from over the years.
- Do your homework. Very little in life is original, the more you know about the history of landscape design and the more gardens you have visited the better your own gardens will be.
- Trust your experience, keep a garden diary to record what works and what doesn’t.
- Don’t forget a garden is more than the sum of the plants. Plantings are ephemeral, a good garden should have more to it than that.
- If you don’t get it right the first time, try again. If a plant isn’t happy, dig it up and move it.
- A garden is not static. Encourage self-seeders to find their place in your plans.
- Sunlight and shade are important design elements. Very few gardens incorporate light and shadows effectively.
- Focus on designing the garden YOU want, and that works for your lifestyle.